ISPs agree basis of new spam crackdown

Internet service providers have agreed information sharing principles in a bid to crack down on spam, which now makes up an estimated 60% of the 84 billion e-mails sent each day.

Internet service providers have agreed information sharing principles in a bid to crack down on spam, which now makes up an estimated 60% of the 84 billion e-mails sent each day.

The 200 members of the London Internet Exchange (LINX) agreed the principles, which are based on a best practice paper on spam-busting techniques drawn up by Cambridge University internet security expert Richard Clayton.

The document outlines how traffic data analysis can be used to identify the source of spam, without the need to examine the content of e-mails – a method that helps to protect e-mail users’ privacy. It also sets out what measures ISPs should consider to tackle spam and viruses.

Traffic data analysis techniques are new to the fight against spam, but breakdowns of radio and telephone traffic have long been used by police and intelligence agencies to track down criminals or enemy forces.

Clayton said, “Traffic data logs can be analysed to seek out patterns indicative of the sending of spam or copies of e-mail viruses. The patterns of usage between legitimate senders of e-mail and those sending spam and viruses are very different and importantly, analysis can be carried out on just the traffic data without any of the content analysis results at all.”

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