Telia blocks computers that send spam

Telia blocks computers that send spam

As of noon today (Nov. 3), Telia will start to immediately block
Internet traffic sent to and from computers that send junk e-mail or "spam".
The background to this initiative is that the amount of spam being sent
globally threatens the Internet's operations and that computers in
Sweden, without the knowledge of their users, are being taken advantage
of by spam senders all over the world.

"Access to the Internet is a service that Telia offers to make life
easier for people. The Internet is easy to use, but this constant flood
of spam that we are now witnessing is creating costs and problems for
our customers and we won't accept it," says Marie Ehrling, head of
TeliaSonera Sweden.

In a short time, the number of customer complaints related to spam and
computer viruses has increased ten-fold from about 300 to 3,000 every 24
hours. One single computer that is infected with a virus can send more
than 100,000 spam messages in a single day. Spam and viruses have become
a global problem. According to calculations, spam now accounts for
approximately half of all e-mail on a worldwide basis. Corporate
customers are experiencing rapidly rising costs for lost productivity
and bandwidth. The mailboxes of consumers are being filled daily with
unserious offers, of which many are illegal.

As a consequence, the openness of the Internet is being threatened since
a growing number of operators are preventing traffic from being
exchanged between their networks. This is jeopardising one of the
fundamental ideas behind the Internet - fast, free, inexpensive and
simple exchange of e-mail between people and companies.

Time has become a very important factor in the fight against spam and
computer viruses. A time lapse of two weeks between the discovery and
blocking of computers that send spam is no longer acceptable. Because
infected computers can spread hundreds of thousands of new spam messages
in a 24-hour period, they must be blocked as soon as they are detected.

The computers that Telia will block are primarily those that have been
infected with "trojans" which are being used, without the customer's
knowledge, to send enormous amounts of spam. Telia emphasises that it is
not blocking these computers on a permanent basis. Telia, as soon as it
comes into contact with the customer, will offer assistance to solve the
problem and then remove the blocking procedure afterwards.

In March this year Telia introduced protection enabling Telia's network
to stop e-mail from known senders of electronic junk mail. The addresses
are matched against a register that is prepared by the operator-
independent organisation Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS). With this
system, Telia estimated that it could stop between 50 and 75 percent of
all spam before it reached customers. Recent calculations indicate that
this goal has been reached, but with the recent dramatic surge in the
total amount of spam, individual customers are often experiencing the
exact opposite to an increasing extent.

In addition to previously implemented measures, Telia plans to introduce
general protection against viruses in both incoming and outgoing mail,
as well as protection against spam in e-mail that is addressed to
receivers outside Telia's network.

"But the actions of Internet providers like us will not be enough," says
Marie Ehrling. "Legislators, legal authorities, consumer organisations
and everyone who uses the Internet must use every available means to
stop the continuing spread of spam and viruses."

For further information journalists can contact:
TeliaSonera Pressoffice + 46 8 713 58 30

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