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12/31/2007
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FTC Ups the Ante on Fighting Spam, Phishing

Federal Trade Commission report calls for authenticated email, reputation services, and better consumer anti-spam reporting tools

The Federal Trade Commission is urging ISPs to more aggressively fight spam and related botnet activity by scoring non-authenticated email and stopping bots they detect in their tracks -- before they spam and phish other users.

In the FTC's new report on spam and phishing, the agency also encourages industry associations and other organizations to authenticate their outbound email traffic and to educate senders on how to authenticate their messages. The report is based in part on findings from a spam summit sponsored by the FTC this summer.

Bots account for 95 percent of all spam traffic distribution, according to the report. And ISPs' spam filters appear to be effective in stopping a substantial amount of spam despite the more sophisticated spoofing and harvesting methods being used by spammers, according to the FTC. One ISP blocked 93 percent of spam, and another, 78 percent, according to the report.

The report found that email authentication is crucial for detecting spoofed email, and reputation services can help stem spam delivery. Telltale signs such as dynamic IP addresses can indicate bot activity, and tracking spammer reputation data can help filter spam from legitimate email.

Aside from the technology recommendations for fighting spam and phishing, the FTC also proposes better collaboration among law enforcement, industry, and other stakeholders, as well as revitalized education of consumers and businesses to protect their computers and continuing to develop tools for consumers such as spam-reporting "buttons."

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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