While Western governments debate the efficacy, or legality, of going on the offensive against Internet spies and criminals, more Internet security companies, and academic researchers, are taking the initiative. The most recent victory was the elimination of the Neustar of Lethic botnet, which represented about ten percent of all spam email sent.
The biggest victory took place in 2008, when a small ISP, McColo Corporation, was taken off line. This caused worldwide spam traffic to decline by over 50 percent in one day. Before that, two similar ISPs, the Russian Business Network and Intercage, had a less dramatic impact on spam traffic, and Internet based criminal activity in general, when they were shut down.
Internet crime, particularly spam (unsolicited email) has become a big money maker. Because of the very low cost of sending it, you need only one response for several million spam messages, to make lots of money. But the same ISPs that host the spammers, also host operations that try to sneak into business, government and personal computers to steal stuff (bank account information, trade secrets, classified military information).