Microsoft to "kill" spam

MICROSOFT boss Bill Gates yesterday declared war on junk emails — vowing to rid the world of them in two years. The mega-rich tycoon, 48, said firms sending out unsolicited mailshots - called "spam" by computer users - could face fines from internet chiefs. His hi-tech empire was also developing filters to block the 40 per cent of emails sent worldwide which are junk. Mr Gates made his pledge in a speech to the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, - report &to=' target=_blank>The SUN

"Two years from now, spam will be solved," he told a select group of World Economic Forum participants at this Alpine ski resort. "And a lot of progress this year," he added at the event late Friday, hosted by US talk show host Charlie Rose. Mr Gates said Microsoft, where he has the title of chief software designer, is working on a solution based on the concept of "proof", or identifying the sender of the email.

One method involves a human challenge, or requiring the sender of an electronic pitch to solve a puzzle that only a flesh-and-blood person can handle. Another is a so-called "computational puzzle" that a computer sending only a few messages could easily handle, but that would be prohibitively expensive for a mass-mailer, according to &to=' target=_blank>

Common techniques used by spammers include forged sender names, false subject lines, fake server names, inaccurate and misrepresented sender addresses, or obscured transmission paths.

About 70% comes from virus-infected machines which install miniature mail and web servers on home PCs belonging to innocent third parties. Research has showed that an estimated 40% of all e-mails sent worldwide are junk. The Government’s new law makes it a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, to send spam to private e-mail addresses after the Information Commissioner has issued an enforcement order. But, campaigners claim that exempting businesses from the law has given spammers justification to claim their spam is destined solely for business inboxes.

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