ISV joins ACA in anti-spam trial

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The Melbourne arm of Singapore ISP Pacific Internet has teamed up with the Australian Communications Authority to trial an anti-spam plug-in from Australian developer SpamMatters.

The Melbourne arm of Singapore ISP Pacific Internet has teamed up with the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) to trial an anti-spam plug-in from Australian developer SpamMatters.

SpamMatters' plug-in interfaces with Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express email clients to let users report spam to the ACA with a single click.

Phil Tsakaros, national technology manager at Pacific Internet, said the ISP had been in talks with ACA about trialling anti-spam offerings for its customers since April, when Australia's national anti-spam legislation came into effect.

“This is exciting,” he said. “Our end-users don't need to be technicians to submit spam for followup.”

Pacific Internet customers would be able to access SpamMatters' plug-in via the ISP's website and call centre staff. Customers would also be able to report spam by submitting a web form, he said.

If an initial two month trial -- until late January or early February -- proved successful, the offering would be made available to other ISPs, Tsakaros said.
Allan Horsley, acting chairman at the ACA, said the SpamMatters software would forward spam to the ACA's forensics database system for research, analysis and action.

“The database system reduces the need for manual spam investigations and is able to process and analyse large amounts of spam,” he said.

Horsley said ACA databases would automatically extract relevant data from the spam and use the information to track down spammers.

“This information can be used as evidence in court because the database also saves the spam message with the header and body intact,” he added.

Since the Spam Act 2003 came into effect in April this year, several “major” Australia-based spammers had closed down. The Act prohibited the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages with an Australian link. Repeat offenders could be fined up to $1.1 million a day, Horsley said.

David Jones, CEO at NSW-based SpamMatters, said its software could “instantly see” the location of zombies, originating nations and ISPs.

“Our realtime processing enables alerts of emerging threats such as phishing campaigns. Australian financial institutions have been relentlessly targeted by phishers,” Jones said.

Gartner research had suggested that phishing alone could be costing companies globally some US$1.2 billion, Jones said.

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