BT hopes to take a lead in the battle against the scourge of spam on the internet by introducing a new system designed to filter out spam before it reaches their customer’s PCs.

BT’s Content Forensics system, devised by StreamShield Networks, will scan millions of emails every day, alerting them to the location of spam related problems on its network.

According to Spamhaus, around 80% of emails (6.5 billion daily) are spam, some of which is generated by professional spammers, some by  ‘botnets’  where the virus-infected PCs of unsuspecting customers are used to generate vast quantities of spam.

Mark Sunner of internet security firm MessageLabs has likened spam to a wave of ‘raw sewage’  being dumped on customer’s PCs by ISPs. He has previously criticised ISPs for their reluctance to deal with the issue.

BT Retail CTO Stratis Scleparis sees the value of cutting more spam off at source:

“In a world-first, we’re turning the tables on professional spammers and cutting off this scourge of the internet at source.

“We are delighted to work with StreamShield Networks on this innovative approach which both tracks down and reduces spam messages on our network, and at the same time helps our customers overcome the threat of infection by bots.”

The system was developed by StreamShield Networks. CEO Simon Gawne explains more:

“Our Content Forensics solution has been developed with large ISPs such as BT in mind and delivers a powerful solution to the problem of professional spammers and botnets on ISP’s broadband networks.”

BT tested the StreamShield Networks product “extensively” before rolling it out.

Whether or not BT can successfully reduce the vast amount of spam it directs to its customers remains to be seen.