Powerful alliance outlines anti-spam guidelines

Powerful alliance outlines anti-spam guidelines

A coalition made up of leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has issued a host of detailed best practices and technical recommendations aimed at combating the growing problem of spam.

The Anti-Spam Technical Alliance (ASTA), which includes Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, British Telecom, Comcast and EarthLink have been working closely for over a year on a number of issues, primarily concerned with the reduction of spam and email fraud.

Among the recommendations made was for users to identify email either by the IP address of the sender or with digital content signatures. This technique, says ASTA, would greatly help the reduction of the most common forms of phishing and forgery currently taking place.

It also made a number of recommendations designed to reduce the flow of spam in our inboxes. Chiefly, for ISPs to implement rate limits on outbound email traffic; control automated registration of accounts; detect and shut off traffic from compromised computers (known as 'zombies'); and educated users to increase use of existing tools.

"We believe that thanks to continued innovation and the ongoing cooperation of governments and industry around the world, we are on the right path to turn the tide against spammers - but further change is needed on an industry-wide basis to thoroughly contain the problem for consumers and businesses worldwide," said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the Anti-Spam Technology & Strategy Team at Microsoft. "Our aim with this proposal is to help lay out a clear framework for the industry as we continue to work together to end the spam business and put our customers back in control of their inboxes once again."

"By collaborating on new ways to better identify the origin of messages, we can help lift the veil of anonymity on spammers and restore the integrity of email. We encourage continued testing and public discussion in order to move toward industry-standard technical solutions," said Linda Beck, executive vice president of Operations at EarthLink.

"This announcement opens an entirely new chapter in spam fighting on behalf of all online consumers. Spam is an industry-wide challenge that merits an industry-wide solution. Creating a set of best practices puts us on a clear glide-path to winning a major battle against spammers, scammers and spoofers," said Matt Korn, executive vice president, Network & Data Centre Operations at America Online.

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