ENISA Agrees ISPs May Be Losing War Against Spam
The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has determined that European ISPs are only breaking even in the war against spam. According to a 2009 survey across 27 EU states, ENISA reports that ISP providers are spending between 10,000 Euros and upwards to seven figures for efforts to thwart spam going to the inboxes of the customers depending on their provider services.
Many customers are unaware of the time, effort and technology that is typically utilized to keep spam at bay. ENISA estimates that around 95 percent of each email that is sent is considered spam email.
The users of ISPs in Europe also do not realize that these squeaky clean processed emails include those as garnered from reputation bases, blacklists, source analysis detection and those with proper sender authentications in place. It also will check the content filtering devices available on the server and respond to client complaints of spam from identified sources on the internet.
Dr. Udo Helmbrecht states that spam is still “an unnecessary, time consuming and costly burden for Europe.” He goes on to admit that “more dedicated efforts must be undertaken” given the sheer volume of spam messages that are sent and received by customers daily.
It is true that ISPs should be better equipped to monitor spam and formally identify the source of the emails sent. There is a call that policy makers and other regulatory authorities would be able to square the discourse between spam-filtering, privacy and delivering issues now present in the email system.
Apparently, the issue may also be that the ISPs focus solely on the customer – in which the efforts are directed at stopping spam emails from being sent to the customers, as opposed to finding out if the customers themselves are sending spam emails out as well. On average, sixty percent of the spam is stopped or prevented from being sent, when the ISP reaches mail thresholds. Also, spam is blocked by prohibiting email from going out on port 25, although this is not a consistently applied strategy.
Trend Micro published statistics on the amount of botnet spam coming from European countries. Many are not utilizing the blocked port 25 technique, and some only identify and keep users abreast of the problem as an informational tool.
What is the final result? ISPs in Europe state that they are taking measures to nix spam, but in reality it is a different story. ENISA will continue to monitor the situation, and has promised coverage regarding spam and plans to beef up control of botnets. Time will tell if these strategies work to stop spam in Europe, which may have far reaching global implications overall.