March 29, 2006 8:32 AM PST

Australia forces ISPs to attack spam

Australia, which already has antispam legislation in place, has introduced a code of practice that will force Internet service providers to be more proactive in stamping out unsolicited bulk e-mail.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is building on the relative success of the country's 2003 Spam Act to ensure that businesses and consumers are protected from a deluge of unwanted e-mail.

"The phenomenon of spam...continues to materially impact on e-mail as a communications medium," states the conduct code document, released on Wednesday.

Although many countries have recognized spam as an issue, few have been able to react to it effectively. However, it's long been suggested that Internet service providers, which carry much of the e-mail, could solve the problem of spam overnight.

"Since senders of spam require the services of service providers in order to send their spam, enlisting the support of those service providers has the potential of being an efficient and also a more proactive way of addressing the spam problem," according to the code document.

As such, ISPs serving the Australian public must proactively scan traffic for open relays and botnets, networks of compromised PCs used for sending spam. In addition, spam filters must be offered and clearly advertised by each Australian ISP.

ISPs must include clauses in all contracts that allow them to disconnect a user if they are knowingly or unwittingly relaying spam, once the ISP has taken "reasonable steps to notify the subscriber of the breach and (provided) reasonable assistance," the code says. They must also restrict inbound connections to any service that allows forwarding of e-mail on behalf of third parties.

There is a threat of penalties or sanctions if ISPs do not follow any part of the code.

Simon Perry, vice president of security strategy at CA, said that while Australian citizens will now be better protected online, global cooperation along similar lines could make a real difference to total worldwide levels of spam.

"Only a joined-up exercise internationally will close all the doors," Perry said.

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
spam, Internet Service Provider, service provider, Australia, Internet service

4 comments

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spam sent by zombies (botnets)
It seems that more and more spam is being sent by zombie PCs (PCs infected with trojan horses that use their host to send spam). I report spam regularly using spamcop.net and lately it seems that my effort is quite worthless: ISPs are interested in preventing spam sent using their servers, but it doesnn't seem that they are interested in stopping spam sent from PCs in their networks that are not email servers. They don't really mind if these are blocked. So legeislation and regulation seems to be needed to encourage or force service providers to act and assisst their clients in removing those pests and securing their PCs, or at least blocking those infected machines until they are cleaned.
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
spam sent by zombies (botnets)
It seems that more and more spam is being sent by zombie PCs (PCs infected with trojan horses that use their host to send spam). I report spam regularly using spamcop.net and lately it seems that my effort is quite worthless: ISPs are interested in preventing spam sent using their servers, but it doesnn't seem that they are interested in stopping spam sent from PCs in their networks that are not email servers. They don't really mind if these are blocked. So legeislation and regulation seems to be needed to encourage or force service providers to act and assisst their clients in removing those pests and securing their PCs, or at least blocking those infected machines until they are cleaned.
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's NOT a phenomenon!
SPAM is sent. It must get out onto the internet. The way to the internet is via an ISP.

That said... ISP's are our front line of defense... but they're doing little to solve the problem.

Hopefully... this method of holding them accountable... will start a fad that will work to drastically reduce SPAM.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's NOT a phenomenon!
SPAM is sent. It must get out onto the internet. The way to the internet is via an ISP.

That said... ISP's are our front line of defense... but they're doing little to solve the problem.

Hopefully... this method of holding them accountable... will start a fad that will work to drastically reduce SPAM.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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