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Enterprise users at risk of spending millions on ‘bouncing’ spam

  • 04 May, 2006 09:37

<p>SYDNEY, May 5. Australia’s business and government email users are in danger of experiencing email service outages or delays because bounced spam messages are choking their networks and raising communications costs, according to anti-spam fighter, Peter Stewart.</p>
<p>He believes that many enterprises are being charged for high volumes of ‘bounced’ spam by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs). According to Stewart, the annual total cost to innocent victims of email scams could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.</p>
<p>The scam works when spammers forge a sender’s email address to be that of the victim, so that the victim, rather than the spammer, has to deal with a flood of bounced emails sent to deliberately invalid email addresses.</p>
<p>The Register, an authoritative infotech web site, says that over 50 per cent of the largest US corporations have experienced mail service outages or delays because of bounced spam messages targeting their networks, according to a study by gateway security firm Ironport Systems. (http://www.theregister.com/2006/05/02/bounced_spam_survey/).</p>
<p>Peter Stewart, Chairman of Sydney-based New Millennium Solutions (NMS), says: “It is likely that many Australian enterprises are suffering similar problems. We know of some whose ISPs have charged them for huge volumes of traffic caused by bounced emails.”</p>
<p>He cites an accounting firm that was charged hundreds of dollars extra in usage charges by BigPond after receiving more than 5,000 ‘bounced’ emails a day. The firm went 50 per cent over its download volume allocation.</p>
<p>“Assuming that many Australian enterprises fall prey to spammers who forge senders’ addresses, and have to pay ISPs’ fees for the extra traffic, the annual bill could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions,” says Stewart.</p>
<p>“The answer lies in anti-spam solutions that use blocking technology rather than the more common filtering techniques. Our own TotalBlock solution, which stops all incoming emails not authorised by the recipient, protected the accountancy company as soon as it switched to TotalBlock. TotalBlock automatically protected the firm from ‘bouncing’ emails, and it received no more of them.”</p>
<p>All New Millennium Solutions’ anti-spam clients - either using NMS’s anti-spam managed service or running it on their own servers - are immune from ‘bouncing’ spam problems. Although spammers might use their email addresses, they do not receive ‘bounced’ emails because TotalBlock blocks them. Firms with their own domain name are also immune from any additional charge from the ISP.</p>
<p>Blocking technology is more effective than filtering technology at stopping unwanted emails without ‘losing’ those that are not spam. It also guards against network overloads caused by storming, harvesting and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.</p>
<p>According to the Ironport study mentioned above, bounced messages make up 11 per cent of all "hostile mail" in the USA. Other categories include spam, viruses, and phishing emails.</p>
<p>Even though under 0.5 per cent of bounced messages reach end users, the IT help desk costs associated with spam messages exceed $US5bn a year. Most of these help desk calls are unnecessary because the message the end-user received was a misdirected bounce falsely claiming that a recipient had sent a virus-infected email to some unknown party.</p>
<p>About TotalBlock</p>
<p>TotalBlock - www.totalblock.net - is an Australian-developed anti-spam solution that blocks ALL spam, using the challenge-response methodology rather than less reliable filtering techniques. TotalBlock quickly and easily builds up a list of acceptable incoming email senders by replying automatically to all those who are not on the user’s allowed list. The reply message contains a simple action that, when followed, automatically adds the sender to the allowed list. The action can be as simple as replying to the challenge. Since the authorisation process requires human intervention, the challenge process bypasses drone machines that spew out huge volumes of spam. All address book entries are authorised automatically, as are senders who reply to mail sent by the user.</p>
<p># # #</p>
<p>Meet Peter Stewart and TotalBlock creator Ben Corby at CeBit in Sydney, May 9 - 11. Hall 4, Stand Q24.</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>Peter Stewart or Ben Corby
New Millennium Solutions
Tel. 61-2-9437 9800</p>

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