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Spam: Can't live with it, can't completely choke it off. Legal efforts to stem the flow of bandwidth-gobbling junk e-mail proceed slowly. But the Federal Trade Commission and 36 agencies in 26 countries are working to stem the flow of spam. Operation Secure Your Server is an international effort to close open relays and open proxies that provide gateways for spam. Open relays and open proxies are servers that allow any computer in the world to bounce or route e-mail through the servers of other organizations, thereby disguising the real origin of the e-mail. Spammers often use these servers to flood the Internet with unwanted e-mail and potentially damage unwitting organizations' reputations if it appears that they sent the spam.

The FTC's operation seeks to raise awareness of computer hygiene measures that can throttle spam, such as stopping proxy connections to untrusted networks, updating proxy software and hardware, applying patches and checking for unauthorized uses of proxy servers. For details, see the FTC Web page at ftc.gov./secureyourserver.

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