FTC Issues Staff Report on Malicious Spam and Phishing

For Release

In a new report, the Federal Trade Commission staff describes findings from its July 2007 workshop, “Spam Summit: The Next Generation of Threats and Solutions” and proposes follow-up action steps that stakeholders can adopt to mitigate the harmful effects of malicious spam and phishing. In addition to proposing action steps for stakeholders, the report provides an overview of the agency’s decade-long role in protecting consumers from the threats of fraudulent spam and phishing. The report also announces results from staff’s 2007 Harvesting and Filtering Study, which suggest that Internet service providers’ spam filters continue to serve an integral role in reducing the amount of spam that reaches consumers’ in-boxes.

During the workshop, panelists confirmed that spam has increasingly become a significant global vector for the dissemination of malware and the propagation of financial crimes. Panelists opined that, in most instances, the acts of malicious spammers are inherently criminal, and criminal law enforcement agencies are best suited to shut down their criminal operations. Panelists also identified collaborative efforts throughout the public and private sectors that have played, and will continue to play, a significant role in the fight against malicious spam and phishing. Further, panelists described how the deployment of industry-driven technological solutions, such as email authentication and e-mail reputation services, can help to combat malicious spam and phishing. Finally, panelists highlighted the continued importance of anti-spam and anti-phishing education in empowering consumers and businesses. The action steps outlined in the report track these findings from the Summit.

The Commission vote authorizing issuance of the staff report was 5-0.

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at
http://www.ftc.gov and the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

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