Press release: ISPA Members Sharpen Efforts in Fight Against Spam

Published on: 2011-10-25

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South African Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) members are responding faster than ever before to complaints about spam and phishing attempts originating from their networks.

This is the finding of the latest series of tests that ISPA has undertaken to ensure that all its members are reacting quickly to abuse reports they receive from other ISPs and the public.

The ISPA code of conduct demands that all members have a working, actively monitored abuse address to which customers, other ISPs and Internet users can report issues such as spam and phishing. The organisation regularly tests its members’ compliance with this clause of the code.

Testing is done by sending test messages to members’ registered abuse addresses, and tracking the responses. When these test messages bounce back or receive either no response or a slow response from the ISPA members concerned, those members are deemed to be non-compliant with the association’s code of conduct. A lack of a registered abuse address is also a violation of the code of conduct.

ISPA takes the fight against spam and phishing very seriously because they result in a higher cost base for ISPs and higher costs, security risks and a degraded experience for the end-user.

According to the code of conduct, ISPA members must not send or promote the sending of unsolicited bulk e-mail and must take reasonable measures to ensure that their networks are not used by others for this purpose.

They must also provide a facility for dealing with complaints regarding unsolicited bulk e-mail and unsolicited commercial communications, originating from their networks. They are also required to react quickly to any complaints they receive.

The results of the most recent test show a dramatic improvement in the responsiveness of ISPA members to complaints sent to their abuse addresses. Fifty percent of ISPA members responded within one hour to abuse reports, compared to 37% towards the end of 2010.

Some 63% responded within five hours (48% in the previous study) and in total, 71% had responded to the test emails. The final total was actually a 76% response rate (119 of ISPA’s 156 members) because 10 members registered a failed delivery and 27 simply did not respond to the test.

Only one percent of members had no registered address compared to 11% the last time compliance testing was done.

Brooks said that the regular compliance tests that ISPA undertakes help to keep members on their toes. The few that have still not fully complied with the Code’s prescriptions around abuse reports have been warned that they are not meeting ISPA’s requirements and asked to boost their service as soon as possible.

Working abuse addresses are global best practice and are expected from all ISPA members. ISPA will keep monitoring all members in the months to come to ensure that they deliver the level of service the public and industry deserve.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.