South Korea Wants ISPs To Take Anti-Spam Measures


The South Korean government’s “Block 25” plan could also block legimiate traffic and suppress dissidents

Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Korea are being urged by the government to sign up to a new national plan to tackle spam.

The South Korean Internet Security Agency aims to have the plan operational by December, according to the BBC, but critics have argued it is unnecessary and could harm businesses and home workers.

Only if all else fails

Recent research conducted by Sophos revealed that South Korea is second largest source of spam e-mails in the world and eighty percent of the billions of spam messages sent every day come from hijacked PCs.

The plan, known as “Block 25” would prevent hijacked PCs from sending messages through the port typically reserved for e-mails, port 25, and would restrict email to official mail servers. This would stop the flow of spam and would help to identify infected PCs, but opponents remain unconvinced.

“Spam is a consequence of free, unauthenticated communication.  The simplest solution to spam would be to somehow ensure that all communications are authenticated and traceable, which is the motivation behind ham-handed measures such as South Korea’s,” commented Dr. Nathaniel Borenstein of cloud email specialist Mimecast.

“Enforced authentication might be the last resort if we find ourselves drowning in a tide of spam and we’ve tried everything else,” he continued, “But we are nowhere near that situation today.  I don’t think that all advocates of enforced authentication are motivated by wanting to crack down on dissidents, but it is a highly likely side effect, and a good reason to try every other anti-spam mechanism first.”

The volume of global spam has fluctuated in 2011. In January, levels fell to a two year low and decreased further when Microsoft and US law-enforcement officials shutdown the Rustock botnet which was responsible for sending 44.1 billion emails per day and 47.5 percent of all spam by the end of 2010.

However by August, the volume of spam returned to pre-Rustock levels as the number of malicious emails increased by five and a half times the amount sent in the preceding months.


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