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Question 5/17

Question 5/17 – Countering spam by technical means
(Continuation of Q.17/17)


Spam has become a widespread problem causing potential loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecommunication operators, mobile telecommunication operators and business users around the globe. Furthermore, spam creates problems of information and telecommunication network security while being used as a vehicle for phishing and spreading viruses, worms, spyware and other forms of malware, etc. Therefore, WTSA-08 Resolution 52 instructed the relevant study groups to continue to support ongoing work, in particular in Study Group 17, related to countering spam and accelerate their work on spam in order to address existing and future threats within the remit and expertise of the ITU‑T, as appropriate. In addition, it is instructed to continue collaboration with the relevant organizations, in order to continue developing, as a matter of urgency, technical Recommendations with a view to exchanging best practices and disseminating information through joint workshops, training sessions, etc., and further instructs Study Group 17 to report regularly to the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group on the progress of this resolution.

Countering spam has been recognized as a global problem that requires a multifaceted, comprehensive approach. Study Group 17, as the lead study group on telecommunication security and in supporting the activities of WTSA Resolutions 52, is well-positioned to study the range of potential technical measures to counter spam as it relates to the stability and robustness of the telecommunication network. In addition, technical structure for existing and potential Recommendations on countering spam by technical means has been established to facilitate Recommendation production. Furthermore, new Recommendations should be published to counter new forms of spam.

Recommendations and Supplements under responsibility of this Question as of 1 December 2012: X.1231, X.1240, X.1241, X.1242, X.1243, X.1244, X.1245, X.Suppl.6, X.Suppl.11, X.Suppl.12, and X.Suppl.14.

Text under development: X.ticvs.


Study items to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  1. How to understand and identify spam?
  2. What are new forms of spam in existing and future networks?
  3. What are serious effects of spam?
  4. What are technical factors which contribute to difficulties of identifying the sources of spam?
  5. How can new technologies, services and applications, such as instant messaging, social networks, etc. lead to opportunities to create and spread spam?
  6. What technical work is already being undertaken within the IETF, in other fora, and by private sector entities to address the problem of spam?
  7. What telecommunication network standardization work, if any, is needed to effectively counter spam as it relates to the stability and robustness of the telecommunication network?
  8. What are the effective and efficient solutions for countering spam?
  9. What are the best practices for countering spam?
Tasks include, but are not limited to:
  1. Act as the lead group in ITU‑T on technical means for countering spam, as spam is described by Study Group 2.
  2. Identify and examine the telecommunication network security risks (at the edges and in the core network) introduced by the constantly changing nature of spam.
  3. Develop a comprehensive and up-to-date resource list of the existing technical measures for countering spam in a telecommunication network that are in use or under development.
  4. Develop new Recommendations for countering existing and emerging forms of spam.
  5. Determine whether new Recommendations or enhancement to existing Recommendations, including methods to combat delivery of unsolicited email, malware, and other malicious contents, and combat compromised network equipment, such as Botnets, would benefit efforts to effectively counter spam as it relates to the stability and robustness of the telecommunication network.
  6. Provide regular updates to the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group and to the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau to include in the annual report to Council.
  • X-series
  • ITU‑T Questions 1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 6/17, 7/17, 8/17, 9/17 and 10/17
Study Groups:
  • ITU‑T SGs 2, 11, 13 and 16; ITU-D SGs 1 and 2
Standardization bodies:
  • IETF, ETSI, ISO/IEC JTC 1, 3GPP, 3GPP2, OMA and other relevant national & international standards organizations
Other bodies: