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Sat, May 17, 2003 - Page 12 News List

US calls on nations to close loopholes used by spammers

AFP , WASHINGTON

US authorities on Thursday called on organizations in 59 countries to close loopholes in cyberspace that allow people to hide their identities in sending "spam," or unsolicited e-mail.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other agencies said they were asking for the closing of so-called "open relays" that allow people "to avoid detection by spam filters and law enforcers," according to an FTC statement.

Open relays allow third parties to route their e-mail through servers of other organizations, masking the real origin of the e-mail.

US regulators identified 1,000 potential open relays, 90 percent of which were in 16 countries: the US, China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Poland, Brazil, Germany, Taiwan, Mexico, Britain, Chile, France, Argentina, India, Spain and Canada.

An FTC spokeswoman said the open relays may exist on severs operated by governments, schools, businesses or any organization with a server, or central computer.

She said many of the open relays are on older servers with weaker security settings and may not be intentionally left open.

The agencies drafted a letter which was translated into 11 languages urging the organizations to close their open relays to help reduce spam.

The announcement was made at the same time the authorities announced 45 criminal and civil law enforcement actions against Internet "scammers and deceptive spammers."

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