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Internet industry takes on spammers

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The Internet Service Providers' Association of South Africa (ISPA) has released its first "Hall of Shame" report naming some of the country's top spammers.

The list was unveiled at iWeek 2008 being held this week in Johannesburg.
The Hall of Shame forms part of ISPA's broader strategy to fight the growing deluge of spam across its members' networks.
Spam remains one of the Internet's biggest headaches for consumers, businesses and spammers, costing all parties a fortune in wasted bandwidth and time and making up well over 95% of all mail sent.
The Hall of Shame will be hosted on the ISPA website as a constantly updated resource listing known South African spammers. It will be accessible to all ISPA members and will help them to identify and take action against spammers, so that they can conserve their bandwidth and protect their customers against unsolicited electronic messages.
Rob Hunter, chair of ISPA's Anti-spam Working Group, says: "ISPA has launched a number of significant initiatives this year to fight the problem of spam. With the publication of the Hall of Shame, we're hoping to take spam prevention measures another step forward. South Africa's spammers have had it easy to date and that is set to change."
During July, ISPA hosted its second "SpamJam" workshop to discuss the growing challenges that managing spam presents for Internet service providers and their customers. The event brought together technical representatives from various organisations including ISPA member companies who are directly involved in dealing with the problem of spam.
"Spam is an arms race between end-users, security vendors and service providers on one side, and the spammers on the other. Today's spammer uses tricks such as invisible ink, camouflage and images that can resist optical character recognition to bypass spam filtering," says Hunter.
Apart from the nuisance factor, spam is often associated with fraudulent and criminal activities such as phishing, "419" scams, and malware distribution, notes Hunter. In addition to email spam, spam over Internet messaging and SMS spam are becoming increasingly common.