ISPA announces “Hall of Shame” Spammers initiative


The Internet Service Providers' Association of South Africa (ISPA) yesterday, Wednesday, 17 September 2008, released its first 'Hall of Shame' report at iWeek 2008. Naming some of the country's top spammers, the 'Hall of Shame' forms part of ISPA's broader strategy to fight the growing deluge of spam across its members' networks. Spam remains one of the Internet's biggest headaches for consumers, businesses and spammers, costing all parties a fortune in wasted bandwidth and time.

The Hall of Shame will be hosted on as a constantly updated resource listing known South African spammers. It will be accessible to all ISPA members and will help them to identify and take action against spammers, so that they can conserve their bandwidth and protect their customers against unsolicited electronic messages.

Said Rob Hunter, chair of ISPA's Anti-spam Working Group, "ISPA has launched a number of significant initiatives this year to fight the problem of spam. With the publication of the 'Hall of Shame,' we're hoping to take spam prevention measures another step forward. South Africa's spammers have had it easy to date and that is set to change."

During July, ISPA hosted its second 'SpamJam' workshop to discuss the growing challenges that managing spam presents for Internet service providers and their customers. The event brought together technical representatives from various organizations, including ISPA member companies which are directly involved in dealing with the problem of spam.

Shafiek Rasdien of Internet Solutions, Willy Mills and Jaco Lesch of SAIX, Mouritz Snyder of Verizon Business, Mike Wright of Striata and David Peall of the e-Schools' Network all presented case studies on dealing with spam. Mike Silber, ISPA's legal advisor, presented a legal view on the problem, while David Jacobson of SYNAQ spoke from an anti-spam vendor's perspective.

Speakers at the workshop highlighted how spammers are using a range of sophisticated techniques and technologies to stay ahead of service providers and lawmakers who are trying to contain spam. Spam currently accounts for over 80% of all email traffic.

"Spam is an arms race between end-users, security vendors and service providers on one side, and the spammers on the other. Today's spammer uses tricks such as invisible ink, camouflage and images that can resist optical character recognition to bypass spam filtering," says Hunter.

Apart from the nuisance factor, spam is often associated with fraudulent and criminal activities such as phishing, '419' scams, and malware distribution, notes Hunter. In addition to email spam, spam over Internet messaging and SMS spam are becoming increasingly common.

Spam will come under the spotlight in a number of presentations at iWeek, including one titled, 'Spam: The impact on Internet service delivery in Africa,' by Lanre Ajayi, director, Internet Service Providers' Association Nigeria (ISPAN), and a talk called 'ISPA update: Cyber terrorism, Spam & Internet Exchanges,' to be given by Rob Hunter from Neotel and Mike Silber, ISPA's regulator advisor.