Today (Tuesday 6/22/04), the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance released a set of recommendations to fight spam.  Most of these recommendations are directed at ISPs, and the primary recommendation is to cut-off internet users’ email ability if they are sending spam (whether or not they are aware of it). 


MSNBC – Spam-sending PCs could be kicked offline:
http://msnbc.msn.com/ID/5269732


Various industry estimates say that anywhere from 65 – 90% of all spam is sent via hijacked PCs.  Think about that – up to 90% of spam is being sent by hijacked PCs – Which means those people that most likely suffer the most from spam are a contributing factor to the problem at large.


I think this is the most realistic approach that actually has the potential to make a difference.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any of us think that this will be the dagger that kills off spam once & for all.  In all honesty – I see the fight against spam as a rallying cry – but the recommendation addresses a larger societal issue – and that is the lack of basic PC security education & awareness among the majority of home users.  As I see it, this is a recommendation for ISPs to protect their customers – I love the analogy in the article that restricting users’ email access when they’re sending high-volumes of email is similar to your credit card company protecting you (ok, and themselves) by temporarily suspending your card and calling you if they see suspicious activity.  If this recommendation has any effect – it will be healthier home PCs – and as far as I’m concerned, that alone is worth implementing it regardless of any effect it may have on the spam epidemic . . .


Just my $0.02 . . .   :^)