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LINX ISP's Shut Down SPAMMER Sites

Posted: 18th Aug, 2004 By: MarkJ
150 ISP members of the London Internet Exchange's (LINX) have begun a new 'get tough' policy on spam (junk e-mail), which has resulted in the closure of websites run by spammers:

NEW WAR ON SPAM

Internet service providers (ISPs) have declared war on e-commerce web sites run by spammers in a new 'get tough' policy on spam. Shutting down these web sites is intended to remove the financial incentive to send spam.

The decision to extend the battle against spam onto web sites was taken by ISPs belonging to the London Internet Exchange (LINX), which handles more than 90 per cent of the UK's Internet traffic.

At an extraordinary general meeting, LINX's 150 members - including most major ISPs operating in the UK plus others from continental Europe, the USA and Asia - agreed to a new series of measures to curb the activities of spammers. This initiative tackles spammers who host their e-commerce web sites with a reputable ISP while sending spam from another network. ISPs' anti-spam policies will now also target web site owners even when the site owner uses a third party to send the spam itself.

LINX is also calling on ISPs to take down web sites used to sell spamming tools, such as CD-ROMs containing millions of illegally-collected e-mail addresses.

LINX regulation officer Malcolm Hutty said: "This represents an ever tougher approach to spammers. ISPs are not just trying to avoid their own users sending spam, we want to put the spammers out of business altogether."

LINX codes of Best Current Practice (BCP) lead ISPs' development of acceptable use terms of service, the contract between an ISP and its customer. The first LINX BCP on spam was adopted in May 1999 and has since become the basis of most anti-spam standards. In March 2000 RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens - an international forum which manages the operation of the Internet) endorsed it as best practice for the whole of Europe.

"The recommendations of that first BCP have proved to be effective. If we hadn't adopted it, e-mail would have become practically unusable by now," said Malcolm Hutty.

"For example, in 1999 nearly 20 per cent of UK mail servers were 'open relays' which could be used to send spam but by 2003 less than 1 per cent of UK mail servers were open relays. Closing open relays was a key element of the original BCP's recommendations.

"ISPs have taken action under the BCP to withdraw e-mail services or even Internet access for spammers. In fact, ISPs have also applied this sanction against each other if they knowingly fail to take action to prevent spamming by their customers.

"Adoption of the BCP and this type of sanction against spammers has helped to reduce the problem. According to recent research, less than 1 per cent of spam now originates in the UK and less than 20 per cent in Europe as a whole.

"The vast majority of spam now originates outside Europe but this new initiative by LINX members will help to make life more difficult for spammers.
"

Many UK ISPs already close 'spamvertised' web sites under their terms of service. However, because most spamvertised web sites are hosted in the overseas countries where the spam also originates, the success of this new initiative depends on LINX pressuring ISPs overseas into adopting more rigorous practices.

Malcolm Hutty said: "The new BCP will raise the baseline, making the worldwide acceptable minimum standard tougher.

"We will be working to spread this standard beyond the UK at RIPE, Euro-IX and elsewhere. We shall also be asking for support from the UK government at WSIS (the World Summit on the Information Society), OECD and other international forums.
"
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