FTC Begins 'Operation Spam Zombies'

The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security and 33 other agencies from over 20 countries have joined the fight against spam - specifically targeting 'zombie' machines. Zombie, or hijacked computers are responsible for sending millions of junk e-mails each day.

"Operation Spam Zombies," will begin by sending letters to over 3,000 ISPs worldwide, instructing them on how to prevent customers' computers from being compromised by spammers. These methods include: blocking port 25 that is used for outgoing e-mail, applying rate-limiting controls for e-mail relays, identifying potential zombie machines, and providing customers with trojan-removal tools.

In July, the next phase of the operation will help to identify spam zombies and directly notify networks that are hosting them. The approach is similar to one taken by the FTC in 2004 with "Operation Secure Your Server" that cracked down on open mail relays.

"Computers around the globe have been hijacked to send unwanted e-mail," said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "With our international partners, we're urging Internet Service Providers worldwide to step up their efforts to protect computer users from costly, annoying, and intrusive spam zombies."

The FTC has established a Web site for Operation Spam Zombies that outlines the project and contains the letter being sent to ISPs around the globe.

Agencies from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom have joined in anti-zombie operation.

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