What is "Spam"?
The term "Spam" generally refers to unsolicited junk email sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. However in Australia the Spam Act has widened the definition of Spam. For example email that does not clearly identify the sender or does not contain an unsubscribe facility is also considered Spam, regardless of whether it was solicited or not.
Spam email, responsible for around 50% of all Internet transmitted email across the world, is a growing problem for business and home Internet users alike. Billions of emails containing rogue advertisements, offensive content and unwanted promotions are transferred at random into people's private email boxes every day.
What are the laws relating to Spam?
The Spam Act 2003 and the Spam Code of Practice 2005
The Internet Industry Association’s Spam Code of Practice 2005 (the Spam Code) was developed in support of the Spam Act 2003. The Spam code sets out obligations for both ISPs and all Internet users, as well as establishing processes for Internet users to report incidences of Spam and make Spam-related complaints.
A copy of the Spam Code is available here.
The Code obligations, which came into force on 16 July 2006, are enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). See the ACMA Spam Information Page for further information on how the ACMA deals with Spam issues.
How does the Code define Spam?
It is important to note that "Spam" as defined by the Spam Code does not merely refer to unsolicited email. Even if a recipient did consent to receiving an email (for example signing up to a mailing list), the email could still be considered Spam if it does not:
- clearly identify the person or entity that authorised it;
- give accurate information on how to contact them; and
- contain an unsubscribe facility.
How does the Spam Code affect me?
All Internet users are obliged to comply with both the Spam Act and the Spam Code and must not otherwise engage in practices that would result in a breach of the Act. Internet users who disregard the code will also be breaching their Acceptable Use Policy and may have their email account suspended or terminated by their ISP.
How can Primus protect me against Spam?
1. Default Filtering
Primus filters all email entering the Primus network based on the reputation of the source of the email. ‘Reputation-based’ filtering examines the source IP address of the sender, determines the likelihood that it is Spam and then either accepts or rejects the message.
It is important to note that default filtering may produce some false positives. On the one hand default filtering is necessary to keep the network clear of Spam and viruses and in this way benefits all customers. On the other hand reputation-based filtering is a complex process and in some cases the filter may prevent legitimate email reaching your mailbox.
Primus has also implemented filters on its routers that prevent its customers from being able to directly reach any mail server other than its own. This prevents compromised computers and open proxies from being used to relay Spam.
2. iProtect filter
In addition to default filtering, Primus also offers a higher level Spam protection service, "iProtect", on a subscription basis. The iProtect filter will scan the content of all your incoming iPrimus email and block both Spam email and virus email from reaching your inbox.
iProtect is provided as an Add-on-service and will provide maximum protection for your mailbox.
How much does the iProtect software cost and how will I be billed for the service?
For only $4 per month iProtect will protect all your Primus mailboxes from Spam and Virus email.
This service is provided on a monthly plan and will appear under the 'Internet Services -Other' section of your bill. Note that the first period may be less than a month to coincide with your Internet access monthly billing date.
How do I subscribe to iProtect?
To subscribe to the iProtect service you must be the account holder of a Primus dial-up or Broadband Internet access account.
- 1. Log into the Primus Account Toolbox
- 2. Select Additional Services
- 3. Select the monthly service you wish to subscribe to, and follow the on-screen prompts
- 4. The service will be activated on your account
If you have any problems subscribing to the iProtect service please contact our sales team on 1300 85 00 00.
Do I need any additional software?
The iProtect service does not require you to download any additional software. This service is provided within the Primus network. Reading your email on your PC with a program such as Microsoft Outlook Express will continue as usual. Your email will be filtered from Spam where possible, before it reaches your PC.
Will all my inboxes be protected from Spam?
Unlike some ISP anti-Spam services, the iProtect service is not charged based on individual mailboxes. All email address(es) that are allocated to your Primus Internet access account will be protected against Spam for the one low monthly fee. That's up to 7 mailboxes on some Internet access plans.
How is my Spam email processed?
iProtect uses ‘content-based’ filtering which examines the content of the email and determines the likelihood that it is Spam. If the message is suspected to be Spam it is delivered to a separate Spam folder within your web account. Probable Spam email will remain in your Spam folder within your Primus webmail service for a duration of 7 to 14 days, after which it may be automatically deleted. Primus recommends you check your Spam folder through your webmail account, at least every 7 days, as on some occasions email which you wish to receive may have been filtered into your webmail Spam folder.
You can now change the way the iProtect service handles Spam, log onto the account toolbox (https://toolbox.iprimus.com.au) and click Manage Spam.
To view your Spam folder, log in to your iPrimus webmail account (https://webmail.iprimus.com.au).
Can I read the Spam email?
Yes, by default email captured by the iProtect filter will be delivered to the Spam folder of your Primus webmail, if you set iProtect to immediately delete Spam through the Manage Spam option it will not be available in the Spam folder.
Please note Spam identified by the default filters will not enter the Primus network and therefore will not appear in your Spam folder. See above for more information on Primus’ default filters.
How do I update the iProtect Service?
You don’t need to update the service. Primus updates all filters in its networks for you.
If I create a new email member after I have activated iProtect, will it be covered by the service?
Any new members that you create after the activation of the iProtect service will automatically be covered by the service.
How do I cancel the iProtect Service?
To cancel the iProtect service please call customer service on 1300 85 44 85.
3. Acceptable Use Policy
Primus maintains a strict Anti-Spam policy and customers who send Spam face suspension and possible termination of their account.
Customers who are suspected of sending Spam and/or are the subject of a Spam Report or Complaint will be warned that they are in breach of their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Repeat offenders or Customers who fail to resolve issues with a compromised computer after they have been warned will have their account suspended pending further investigation.
Customers who are responsible for sending Spam themselves are immediately terminated and referred to the Australian Communications and Media Authority who may take action against the spammer to enforce the Spam Act 2003.
A copy of Primus's Acceptable Use Policy can be found here or on our Standard Form of Agreement page.
4. No online signups
In the past it was possible to create dialup accounts via the online signup servers and subsequently send Spam via webmail using scripts created by spammers.
In response to the increase in Spam attacks that resulted from online signup accounts, Primus promptly ceased all online signups and disabled all the accounts created by these spammers. Online signups without human intervention are now restricted under the Spam Code.
What other measures can I take to protect myself?
There are many things you can do both to protect yourself against Spam and to fight the Spam problem in general.
1. Firstly, ensure your computer is not directly reachable from the Internet, this can be achieved by using a firewall, or a NAT (Network Address Translation) Router (most common broadband modem/routers do this)
2. Don't sign up for mailing lists or record your email on registration forms, etc unless absolutely necessary. One way spammers can find your email address is by buying email addresses from a list-broker.
3. Ensure that you read any email from a source that is not 100% trusted in plain text only, and that you do not open attachments from unknown sources. Spammers can detect when you are reading Spam emails by remote html parsing so, if you do not know the person who sent you the email, do not open it and delete it immediately.
4. Use other filter products
Depending on your computing and email needs, there may be other or additional filter programs that are appropriate for you. Below are links to some other filter products.
Please note that Primus Tech Support does not support these programs.
How can I fight back against Spam?
Reporting Spam is the most effective way you can help fight the Spam problem.
If you are receiving Spam email you can report the Spam to Primus, the relevant ISP and/or an anti-Spam organisation.
Report Spam to Primus
If the Spam you have received comes from a Primus host or client, indicated by the IP address in the received header, you can report this to Primus using the Spam Report webform.
The Spam Code provides that any email user can Report to Primus:
Spam originating from the Primus network; OR
Spam-related breaches of a Primus customer's AUP
Report Spam to Primus: web-form
This web-form processes reports which are then forwarded to Primus Network Abuse Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Report Spam to another ISP
If your report is regarding Spam that does not originate within Primus' network, Primus is unable to take any disciplinary action.
If you would like to report Spam received from an address that is not a Primus address, we recommend you report this directly to the relevant ISP from which the message originated. Most ISPs maintain a standard "abuse@" address, similar to the Primus one listed above, that can be used to report Spam.
You can now report Spam to any provider using the Spam reporting web-form.
Report Spam to an anti-Spam organisation
One of the best-known and effective automated Spam reporting systems is SpamCop.
To report to SpamCop you can log onto http://www.spamcop.net and follow the instructions there.
The ACMA also have a Spam reporting system, see http://spam.acma.gov.au for more information.
MAKE A SPAM COMPLAINT
Complain to Primus (Primus Customers only)
If you are a Primus customer you are also entitled to make a Spam Complaint under Part 7 of the Spam Code.
Spam Complaints are more serious than Spam Reports and require additional customer information to be processed. The Spam Complaint procedure allows for escalation of unresolved complaints and Spam Reports by Primus customers that are unresolved can also be escalated to Spam Complaints upon request.
Further information on our Complaints procedures can be found in the Primus Customer Service Charter Primus endeavour to acknowledge all online complaints within 1 hour and to resolve all complaints within 5 working days. If you complaint is more complex we may require more time to investigate. For complex complaints we endeavour to complete all investigations and provide you with a full response to your complaint within 30 calendar days.
Make a Spam Complaint: web-form
This web-form processes report which are then forwarded to Primus' Network Abuse Team at email@example.com
Complain to the ACMA or another industry organisation (all Internet users)
Depending on the content of the Spam received, there may be other organisations who are able to receive your complaint.
- If Spam contains offensive content: the ACMA.
- If Spam breaches privacy law: the Privacy Commissioner.
- If Spam is misleading and deceptive or otherwise breaches the Trade Practices Act: the ACCC.
Additional information and filters can be found at the following sites:
Internet Industry sites
Other common Spam questions
How do spammers find my email address?
Spammers can find your address in a number of ways. They can use email generators that make large amounts of random email address. They can buy your email address from a list-broker, and they can also detect when you are reading Spam emails by remote html parsing.
Note: Primus does not sell lists of its customers’ email addresses.
How do I tell where a Spam message comes from?
You can only identify the origin of a Spam message through the first Received header of the message. Most email clients hide this information but it can generally be retrieved through advanced options.
See the guides section for how to retrieve the full headers using your mail client by following the links in the menu to the left of this page.
Note that the 'From' address does not indicate the origin of the Spam. A spammer can put anything they like in the 'From' field, and this will usually be the address of a third party innocent victim.
I get emails saying that I sent Spam, are they legitimate?
There are a number of email scams that tell you that you have sent Spam, or that your account has been suspended for spamming.
Whilst the Primus Network Abuse Team does send legitimate Spam/virus notification emails to Primus customers, these emails do not ask you to click a link, or follow any attachment, and they include the exact date/time the Spam email that triggered it was sent and the IP address it was sent from, as well as any available evidence.
These emails are only to warn you that you may have a virus infection. You should use your own virus scanner, or one of the ones mentioned in the email to scan your computer and remove the Virus.
If you are unable to remove the virus from your PC you may need to have a professional repair your computer.
Note that Primus is obliged by Australian Law to terminate your service if your computer continues to send Spam.