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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spam on agenda @ Telecom World-06

In order to get rid of spam in today’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts took time to deliberate on the way forward at the on-going International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-organised Telecom World 2006, holding in Hong Kong.

"Spam" as related to electronic mails (e-mail) means Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) and a message is Spam only if simply sent in bulk to unsolicited Internet users, most of the time, for commercial purposes.

The one-day session “Towards a Spam-Free Digital Society” ITU said would hold Friday, December 8, on the theme, "Countering Spam Cooperation Agenda."

ITU also said that some key international and regional organizations as well as experts involved in the fight against spam have been summoned in Hong Kong to discuss greater collaborative efforts to battle spam and related threats.

A number of organizations worldwide are actively engaged in the fight against spam, but a solution cannot be found unless these organizations share knowledge of the work they have undertaken to date, pinpoint potential overlaps and cooperate to address the gaps. Unsolicited commercial communications by e-mail represent a major plague threatening the Digital World.

This workshop will consider specific practical next steps that can be taken to work toward a common countering spam cooperation agenda.

The first symptoms of spam were mild irritation to users. Now the disease has progressed to the point where spammers are sending billions of messages per day, choking off the legitimate email correspondence that needs to flow freely within and between organizations and all inhabitants of the Digital World.

Today, spam represents around 90 per cent of all electronic mail (email) messages.

Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, Mr. Robert Shaw, said "Monty Python's new musical Spamalot might be hot fare in the comedy fan's world, but for the Digital World spam is no laughing matter. Not only is it a nuisance, it is now the primary mechanism to deliver viruses used to hijack millions of home computers which are then used without their owner's know to relay on even more spam.”

In what he also described as "zombie armies" are used to send out "phishing" attacks intended to dupe unwary users to give up personal financial details which are nowadays used to siphon money out of their back accounts.

"Spam has got to be canned. People are losing their life savings and suffering credit problems, and businesses losing vital sales and customer trust because of downtime. Above all, it has seriously undermined user confidence in online activities, hampering the development of the digital economy. The organizations represented in this event have got a message to the world's top spammers: no matter where you are in the world, we are going to work closely together to track you down and put you out of business," he assured.

The event would be an assemble of top experts in the field who would share information on the very latest trends in scams, malware and fraud, just as the meeting would opened by ITU Deputy Secretary-General Roberto Blois, who will emphasize that it represents a reinforcement of ITU's growing focus on cyber security issues.

The event will be chaired by Constance Bommelaer, Manager of Public Policy for the Internet Society (ISOC) and encompasses a series of sessions.

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