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‘New undersea cable creates spam rise’

As Nigeria celebrates a few initiatives in undersea cable project  from indigenous operators, it is also wise to look beyond the boosting of internet services by the initiatives and perhaps dwell on the pains the country and her internet users may go through when the uhuru comes.

The reasons are that learning from what happens from other environments may provide protection on time, enough before the enablement to be provided by the broadband boom sets in.

At the moment, Symantec’s MessageLabs division has announced that spam coming from Africa may be on the increase as new broadband infrastructure in the Eastern half of the continent, grows.

By MessageLab’s reckoning, the proportion of global spam sent by Africa is still a tiny 3 percent, but that is up from the 2 percent in April 2009.

At a time when global spam levels are stable, the extra 1.2 billion spam emails is large enough to count as a new trend. Although the Western side of Africa, and North Africa in particular, still account for the overwhelming volume of African spam, the company says that the lighting of a new undersea fibre cable running down the eastern edge of the continent in July 2009 was probably the key development.

Coming ashore in Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique, the 8,400km long, 1.2 terabit link could explain why that side of continent has seen its share of the African spam phenomenon rise.

According to MessageLab’s analyst, Paul Wood, “the new undersea fiber optic cable along the east coast of Africa has enabled rapid growth in the number of users obtaining high speed connections to the internet creating a great opportunity for attackers to infect new machines and create new bots”.

A growing number of users in countries served by the cable had access to broadband links but without awareness about the need for computer protection, opening a new front for botnets, he said. Only four botnets appear to account for virtually all of the spam coming from this side of Africa; Grum, Bobax, Rustock, and Bagle.


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