Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Public relations disaster in progress

Jonathan Krim (reg. req.) reports on Internet service providers latest attempt to blame the customer:

The country's largest e-mail account providers called yesterday for a worldwide industry assault on"zombies," personal computers that have been unwittingly commandeered by spammers and used to send out unwanted e-mail and malicious programs.

The Anti-Spam Technical Alliance, which includes America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and EarthLink Inc., urged all Internet providers to police their networks more aggressively and cut off machines suspected of being launching pads for spam.

By some estimates, hundreds of thousands of computers around the world have been infected with software that lets them be used without their owners' knowledge. Such machines now account for as much as 40 percent of all spam.

Large Internet providers typically monitor traffic on their networks and pinpoint machines that are sending out inordinate amounts of e-mail. When such machines are found, some Internet providers block their Internet access until their owners come forward, at which point they are given help to remove the software code used by the spammers before being reconnected.

Imagine your car was stolen and subsequently used in a crime and the dealer who sold it to you tried to hold you accountable for the crime. We can do better.

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