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<p>SYDNEY, August 25. US consumers lost $US8 billion ($A10.5 billion) to online scams over the past two years, yet spam-blocking technology could have saved much of this amount, according to an Australian data security industry specialist.</p>
<p>Peter Stewart, CEO of TotalBlock Pty Ltd, says the US magazine Consumer Reports has disclosed that the online scams which cost billions included viruses, spyware and phishing schemes.</p>
<p>“Most of those scams would be triggered by spam – unwanted email,” says Stewart. “If all those consumers had used anti-spam software that relies on challenge-response (blocking) techniques, rather than the usual filtering technology, billions of dollars would have been saved because blocking results in zero spam.”</p>
<p>Challenge-response works by blocking ALL machine generated email. TotalBlock builds a list of acceptable incoming email senders, using a customer’s address book as well as replying automatically to any emailers who are not on the allowed list. The reply contains a simple action that, when followed, adds the sender to the allowed list. Since this authorisation process requires human intervention, it bypasses drone machines that spew out huge volumes of spam.</p>
<p>Consumer Reports’ 2006 ‘State of the Net’ survey*, resulting from a sample of more than 2,000 households with Internet access, showed consumers spent at least $7.8 billion for computer repairs, parts and replacements to correct problems caused by viruses and spyware.</p>
<p>The survey showed:</p>
<p>• Consumers face a 1-in-3 chance of becoming a cyber-victim.
• Phishing victims’ losses were up five-fold since 2005 survey. The median cost per phishing incident was $850 five times higher than the median cost of $165 in 2005.
• 29 percent of survey respondents said a virus, spyware, or phishing scam caused serious computer problems and/or financial losses.
• 35 percent of survey respondents didn't use software to block or remove spyware.
• An estimated 2.6 million households replaced computers in the past two years because of virus infections.
• An estimated 795,000 households bought products advertised through spam.
• About 8 percent of surveyed households with children under 18 reported a child inadvertently saw pornographic material as a result of spam.
• An estimated 1 million households replaced computers within the past six months because of spyware.</p>
<p>The median cost to a consumer for a phishing incident was $850, up from $165 in 2005, even though only 8 per cent of survey participants said they submitted personal information in response to conventional phishing e-mails.</p>
<p>* Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cu-press-room/pressroom/2006/9/0609_eng0609son_ov.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=7&searchTerm=online%20scams</p>
<p>TotalBlock - www.totalblock.net - is an Australian-developed anti-spam solution that also guards against network overloads caused by storming, harvesting and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. It works by blocking ALL machine generated email, using a challenge-response technique rather than filtering. TotalBlock builds a list of acceptable incoming email senders, using a customer’s address book as well as replying automatically to any emailers who are not on the allowed list. The reply contains a simple action that, when followed, adds the sender to the allowed list. The action can be as simple as replying to the challenge. Since this authorisation process requires human intervention, it bypasses drone machines that spew out huge volumes of spam.</p>
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<p>For more information</p>
<p>Peter Stewart or Ben Corby
New Millennium Solutions
Tel. 61-2-9437 9800</p>