By ANICK JESDANUN AP Internet Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- There's a new strategy in the spam battle: Call it containment. Filters for blocking junk e-mail from inboxes have improved to the point that doing much more will needlessly kill legitimate e-mail, said Carl Hutzler, America Online Inc.'s anti-spam coordinator. So e-mail gatekeepers are shifting gears.
Now they're getting more aggressive at keeping spam from leaving their systems in the first place.
EarthLink Inc., for instance, is phasing in a requirement that customers' mail programs submit passwords before it will send out their e-mail.
Like most Internet providers, EarthLink previously made sure only that a computer was associated with a legitimate account. Now that viruses can co-opt computers and use them to send spam, that's no longer secure enough.
So Earthlink sent out new software, made automated tools available for download and walked customers through manually changing their mail settings when they called tech support for other reasons. A year into the initiative, EarthLink has 80 percent of its customers converted.