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Microsoft Announces Anti-Spam Initiative in Asia

Microsoft Announces Anti-Spam Initiative in Asia

To Protect Consumers from Spam and Businesses from Lost Productivity Costs Microsoft today announced a four point initiative to address the rapidly growing problem of spam in Asia, in a bid to protect consumers and business.

In line with the company's global strategy, the initiative encompasses anti-spam technology development, working with policy makers to help implement anti-spam legislation, co-ordinated industry self regulation and taking legal action against spammers.

"Spam is fast becoming one of the most serious problems facing email users, accounting for more than 50 per cent(i) of all email traffic," said Peter Moore, Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer in Asia.

Spam mail causes disruption to both consumers and business users. In fact, MSN already blocks 2.4 billion pieces of spam each day to its hotmail users. Email systems become flooded with unwanted mail, and personal and business productivity is significantly reduced from time spent clearing and filtering it. Co-operation between industry and governments

Microsoft is committed to strengthening public private partnerships to protect consumers and businesses from spam. "As a company we believe it will take industry and government co-operation to turn the tide on spam and restore to consumers and businesses the promise of a more trustworthy and productive email experience," said Mr. Moore.

Dr. Duck Kyu Joo, the Chief Officer of the Korean Information Security Agency (KISA), a government agency at the forefront in combating spam in Asia welcomed Microsoft's initiative.

"We have been working closely with Microsoft on spam-related issues and look forward to even greater collaboration in achieving our shared objective of dramatically reducing the amount of spam that affects computer users in Korea and elsewhere in the world."

KISA has taken a number of important steps toward this goal, including supporting anti-spam legislation, promoting greater awareness, and even developing anti-spam software tools for Korean consumers. Dr. Joo emphasized, however, that "An effective solution to the spam problem does not lie with governments alone. It will require a strong and ongoing partnership between the public and private sectors." Anti-spam technology development

Microsoft is introducing anti-spam technology in its products including the upcoming releases of MSN 9, Microsoft(R) Exchange and the Outlook(R) messaging and collaboration client in Office 2003. New filtering capabilities will make it easier to distinguish wanted email from spam and verify whether the senders of messages are who they say they are.

In addition, new Microsoft technologies can help consumers keep their email addresses out of the hands of spammers. The company has also created a list creation deterrent, called Human Interactive Proof (HIP), which reduces the growth of email accounts used to distribute spam. Already HIP has cut email registrations by 20 per cent. Educating customers

Business and consumer needs will be addressed through broad education outreach planned for across Asia over the coming year. Initially the Microsoft plans to partner with industry and government to roll out a training programme for businesses on how to protect themselves from spam.

Adeline Wong, Acting Deputy Secretary (IT and Broadcasting) of Hong Kong's Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau commented, "The Hong Kong Government welcomes this opportunity to work with Microsoft and others in industry to facilitate training for IT professionals, systems administrators and users on how to prevent their resources from being abused by spam operations," commenting that "such initiatives are in line with Government's overall policy of enhancing information security awareness in the community."

With over 50 million MSN users in Asia, Microsoft is also committed to promoting greater consumer awareness so people can protect themselves. Taking legal action against spammers

Microsoft will also support law enforcement efforts around the world to identify, investigate and take action against those who disrupt the company's services and detract from the consumer's positive online experience.

In line with this commitment, the company announced that it has filed 15 cases in the United States and the United Kingdom to protect consumers against alleged spammers. The defendants are believed to be responsible for flooding Microsoft's customers and its systems with 2 billion deceptive spam messages.

In one case in the UK, Microsoft servers were attacked 455,049 times and more than 3 million automatically generated email addresses were sent of which more than 225,000 appeared to be valid. This use of random email prefixes attached to a known domain name (e.g. is known as a dictionary attack. Coordinated industry self-regulation

While more advanced technology is critical to reducing spam, it's not enough. Effective and complementary self-regulation efforts by the industry are crucial. As announced earlier this year in the US, Microsoft is supporting the establishment of an independent trust authority or authorities around the globe that will spearhead industry best practices, and then serve as an ongoing resource for email certification and customer dispute resolution. About Microsoft

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