No spam at night? South Korea reveals anti-spam plan - Sophos comments

February 27, 2004 Sophos Press Release

The South Korean Government has announced a raft of measures to tackle unsolicited commercial email, or spam. The Government will invest 10 billion Korean Won by 2007 in the fight against spam mail, and spammers will face fines of 30 million Korean Won (approximately GBP 13,650), a 300 percent increase from the previous penalty. In addition, a law will be devised to prohibit the sending of spam at night (between 9pm and 9am).

The Seoul authorities also plan to build a centre to develop technology to combat the spread of illegal information and will co-operate with other countries in developing anti-spam guidelines and exchanging blacklists of known spammers.

"South Korea's plans to introduce a night-time spam curfew will cause a few raised eyebrows," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos. "Everyone has probably felt the morning malaise of ploughing through the mountain of spam that has accumulated overnight, but unfortunately overseas spammers aren't going to respect the Korean public's bedtime. The reality is that spam is a global menace and it needs to be addressed all over the world."

Research published by Sophos yesterday revealed that South Korea is the fourth biggest producer of spam - after the USA, Canada and China - accounting for over 1 in 20 spam messages. However, researchers believe that many of the messages may be being sent without the user's knowledge from machines compromised by spammers who are exploiting hacked computers.

Recently, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission fined 25 companies for sending unsolicited commercial messages via email and mobile phones. The fines totalled 64 million Won (approximately GBP 29,000).

"Korea's actions can only be welcomed, but legislation alone will not solve the spam plague. There needs to be collaboration between governments, computer users and technology if the problem is to be solved," continued Cluley.