Australia a soft target as ISPs lag in battle to block spam and phishing

ISPs need to join forces

The low adoption rate of effective spam, phishing and other unwanted messaging filters by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) SPs has made Australia a soft target for e-commerce abuse.

This is the view of eCorner managing director, John Debrincat, who claims Australia is lacking when it comes to spam and phishing filtering.

"It is one of the major inhibitors to successful e-commerce adoption in this country. It's leaving ISPs and their customers exposed to risk of existing and emerging messaging threats," Debrincat said.

"Spam, phishing, viruses and other unwanted mail account for more than 90 percent of the 100 billion messages sent every day.

"To address the spread of all forms of messaging abuse you need a large pool of providers giving input. We don't have a large enough information pool in Australia to trap the real problem messages with the local filtering and security products many ISPs rely on."

Debrincat said local ISPs need access to a global pool of data to protect their customer base and their businesses from existing and new classes of messaging threats including image spam, virus mutations, zombie attacks and VoIP phishing.

He said Australia is perceived as a safe haven for e-commerce but in fact the opposite may be true.

"Australian banks are regularly phished and even the Reserve Bank of Australia was a target last year," he said.

"The rise in the volume, speed and complexity of messaging abuse should be a major concern for service providers because it threatens subscriber satisfaction and retention and increases operational costs."

He said more than 70 new customers join world's biggest threat detection network, and as a result the tide may be turning.

Since November 2006, e-Corner has signed more than 70 customers to anti-spam and phishing software from Cloudmark.

"The growth in abusive messages has overwhelmed legacy anti-spam filters," Debrincat said.

"That has served as a catalyst for service providers to adopt Cloudmark's solutions in major markets across the US, Europe and Japan. Now we are seeing momentum build for its global-focused solution in Australia with rapid growth in our reseller channel."

Cloudmark added more than 130 million new mailboxes to its user base in 2006.

Up to 90 percent of all e-mails will be spam by the end of this year, according to research released last week.

Security vendor Marshal Ltd.'s Threat Research and Content Engineering (TRACE) team monitored spam traffic from spots located across 18 countries and recorded a 30 percent increase over the last week, which smashed global record levels.

Marshal Director of Product Management Bradley Anstis, said spam has increased a whopping 280 percent since last October.

"About 85 percent of e-mails received are now spam and this will go up to at least 90 percent by the end of the year if levels don't change," Anstis said, noting that spam represents eight out of every 10 e-mails.

"Spam coming out of China and South Korea has massively increased mainly because of out-of-control botnets running off unprotected home computers."

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