BT has said it is to take a pioneering role in the global battle against spam by implementing the world's first fully-automated "spam buster" system to track down and tackle professional spammers and "botnet"-infected customers on the BT broadband network.

According to the telecoms company, around 80% of emails on the Internet, equivalent to 6.5 billion emails a day, are spam. These unwanted emails are not only generated by professional spammers, but also by "botnets" - where the PCs of unsuspecting customers are secretly infected with rogue software to form a robotic network that generates vast quantities of unwanted spam. These compromised machines can be used in turn to attack other PCs and websites.

The new spam detection system selected by BT – Content Forensics from StreamShield Networks – scans millions of emails a day, providing BT with detailed reports on the location and size of spam-related problems originating from the BT network.

BT's Customer Security team can then take immediate action against professional spam operators, which could include terminating rogue accounts and adding offending IP addresses to industry-wide blacklists.

At the same time, BT can focus more effort on contacting and helping customers rid their PCs of botnet infections – reducing the likelihood of email traffic from BT networks being blocked by other providers and third-party email systems.

"In a world-first, we're turning the tables on professional spammers and cutting off this scourge of the internet at source", said Stratis Scleparis, CTO at BT Retail. "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."

"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", comments Simon Gawne, CEO StreamShield Networks. "We are excited that BT has selected our solution after extensive testing in their network and we look forward to working with them in the future."