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Industry Momentum Builds Against Telephone-Based Exploits as Second M3AAWG Voice and Telephony Anti-Abuse Workshop Announced

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/20/14 -- Building on the growing industry cooperation against Internet-enabled voice threats such as robocalls, "swatting" extortion schemes and other safety concerns, the second Voice and Telephony Anti-Abuse Workshop hosted by the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group will be held June 18-19 in Montreal, Canada. The two-day meeting is open to vetted professionals from industry, government and academia and will drill deeper into workable solutions to stop the types of sophisticated exploits made possible by the convergence of online and telephony technologies.

The workshop will delve into honeypot and trace back programs, call blocking policies, abuse reporting, and the global aspects of the problem, among other topics. It is the next step in an industry-wide initiative kicked off at a workshop last February in San Francisco to develop technical best practices defining useful methods to block abuse and identify the most effective public policies to mitigate its spread.

While the technological convergence of the Internet and telephony have given us widely-adopted services such as Voice over IP, it also has opened the door to spammers and criminals who easily take advantage of the accessibility and anonymity of these services to perpetuate fraud and carry out other menacing activities. More than just annoying telemarketing robocalls, telephony abuse is disrupting text, voice, video call and messaging services at an escalating rate, as explained in a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1AnobOzXpM&feature=share&list=UUTZxk2zHaimn_zuWPgXV9cA) from the M3AAWG Voice and Telephone Special Interest Group, which has hosted both workshops.

"We're seeing serious exploits endangering public safety, such as swatting extortion schemes that overload emergency call centers and prevent legitimate calls from getting through until the demanded ransom is paid. Online criminals have quietly moved from simple 'phone spam' to deploying sophisticated systems integrating robodials, text messages, email, voice response, boiler rooms, even Web attack vectors. Because the abuse involves so many types of technology, it takes experts in all these areas working with public policy specialists to craft a solution that can protect end-users," said Alex Bobotek M3AAWG VTA SIG co-chair and vice chairman, board of directors.

The first telephony anti-abuse workshop focused on understanding the depth and scope of the problem. It brought together 90 participants, including technical experts, academic researchers, public policy advisors and representatives from government and law enforcement.

The upcoming second Voice and Telephony Anti-Abuse Workshop is also open to all professionals from services connected to the global public telecommunications network that use telephone numbers as a primary endpoint address. Academic researchers and public policy specialists working in the area are also invited. More information and a Request to Attend form is available on the M3AAWG website at http://www.m3aawg.org/vta-sig.

The M3AAWG VTA SIG is also hosting a working session on telephony abuse at the M3AAWG 31st General Meeting, to be held in Brussels on June 9-12, where it will share the results from the first workshop with the European community and solicit feedback. The annual European M3AAWG meeting will feature over 35 sessions on technical and public policy issues related to fighting abuse on all platforms.

About the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG)

The Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) is where the industry comes together to work against bots, malware, spam, viruses, denial-of-service attacks and other online exploitation. M3AAWG (www.M3AAWG.org) represents more than one billion mailboxes from some of the largest network operators worldwide. It leverages the depth and experience of its global membership to tackle abuse on existing networks and new emerging services through technology, collaboration and public policy. It also works to educate global policy makers on the technical and operational issues related to online abuse and messaging. Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., M3AAWG is driven by market needs and supported by major network operators and messaging providers.

M3AAWG Board of Directors: AT&T (NYSE: T); CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL); Cloudmark, Inc.; Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA); Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT); Cox Communications; Damballa, Inc.; Facebook; Google; LinkedIn; Mailchimp; Orange (NYSE and Euronext: ORA); PayPal; Return Path; Time Warner Cable; Verizon Communications; and Yahoo! Inc.

M3AAWG Full Members: 1&1 Internet AG; Adobe Systems Inc.; AOL; BAE Systems Detica; Cablevision Systems Inc.; Campaign Monitor Pty.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; CloudFlare; Dynamic Network Services Inc.; iContact; Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ, NASDAQ: IIJI); Litmus; McAfee Inc.; Message Bus; Mimecast; Nominum, Inc.; Oracle/Eloqua; Proofpoint; Scality; Spamhaus; Sprint; Symantec and Twitter.

A complete member list is available at http://www.m3aawg.org/about/roster.

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