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Unsolicited bulk email (spam) is used by cyber-criminals to lure users into scams and to spread malware infections. Most of these unwanted messages are sent by spam botnets, which are networks of compromised machines under the control of a single (malicious) entity. Often, these botnets are rented out to particular groups to carry out spam campaigns, in which similar mail messages are sent to a large group of Internet users in a short amount of time. Tracking the bot-infected hosts that participate in spam campaigns, and attributing these hosts to spam botnets that are active on the Internet, are challenging but important tasks. In particular, this information can improve blacklist-based spam defenses and guide botnet mitigation efforts.
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