Bad Internet Neighborhoods


Download the PDF version of this whitepaper here.


As with anything, the Internet has good areas and bad areas, safe areas and dangerous areas. In real life, it’s not just the bad guys that get harmed in bad areas. People doing legitimate business can often be hurt just by being close to troublemakers, and it works the same way online[1] . Here we will review the various types of bad neighborhoods on the Internet, and ways for you to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

Spam Ghettos

There are hosting companies on the Internet that allow spamming[2] . You may wonder how this can harm you. Some major anti-spam organizations blacklist entire ranges of IP addresses to deal with a single offending IP. If your neighbor spams, you might find your IP on a spammer blacklist, even if you haven’t sent a single email[3] . This could block emergency emails, normal business emails or any other emails, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Clan Warfare

Many people play games on the Internet and this is fine, of course. Sometimes games get out of hand, both in real life and on the net, and some people take to attacking their opponents outside the game. On the net, this can take the form of DDOS (or distributed denial of service) attacks. They can also take the form of brute force attacks and vulnerability exploits. When one of your neighbours starts fighting outside the game, they often get attacked in return, and you are at great risk of being attacked just by being in the neighborhood[4] .


Just as with clan warfare, if you find yourself in an internet neighborhood with hackers and people who engage in IP masquerading, you can easily find yourself the target of retaliatory attacks[5] . The best defense is to stay out of these neighborhoods.


While we don’t condone copyright and other intellectual property violations, it is clear that these do not affect the neighborhood. Intellectual Property issues are very real to the person whose property is being abused and this is a serious civil matter, however it is only a civil matter and does not affect the neighboring servers or IP addresses[6] . We obey intellectual property laws, but we are not the appropriate enforcement organization for these laws. That power is reserved for the courts with the appropriate jurisdiction[7] .


At eSecureData, we check every IP in all of our data centers against reputable outside sources daily to ensure that nobody is engaging in activity that will put other clients at risk. We then communicate with the client to help resolve their problem. This ensures that you are less likely to be collateral damage in an internet war you’re not even participating in.

If you are interested in hosting in a great internet neighborhood, take a look at the eSecureData website at www.esecuredata.ca

You may also be interested in:

“Internet’s ‘bad neighbourhoods’ spread scams and spam,” The BBC, March 15 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-21798829

“‘Bad neighbourhoods’ on the internet are a real nuisance,” published by the University of Twente, ScienceDailyhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130308093808.htm


[1] Giovane César Moreira Moura, “Internet Bad Neighbourhoods,” Centre for Telematics and Information Technology Ph.D.-thesis Series No. 12-237, March 1st 2013, http://doc.utwente.nl/84507/1/thesis_G_Moura.pdf
[2] “The World’s Worst ISPs,” Spamhaus.org, accessed August 18 2014, http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/networks/
[3] “How Blacklists Work,” MailChimp.com, June 13 2014, http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/what-are-blacklists
[4] Prolexic, “An Analysis of DrDoS and DDoS Attacks Involving the Multiplayer Video Gaming Community,” DrDos White Paper Series, Part IV, 2013, http://www.prolexic.com/kcresources/white-paper/white-paper-gaming-reflection-attacks-drdos/index.html
[5] Cory Janssen, “Internet Protocol Hijacking (IP Hijacking),” techopediahttp://www.techopedia.com/definition/27966/internet-protocol-hijacking-ip-hijacking
[6] “United States and Canada,” OpenNet Initiative, accessed August 25 2014, https://opennet.net/research/regions/namerica