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RSA 2005 We're all learning to live with spam but an even more annoying nuisance lies just around the corner. Spit (Spam over internet telephony) is set to become the next pervasive medium for scammers, penis pill purveyors and the rest.

Internet telephony means cheaper phone calls, a great prospect for consumers and businesses alike. It also means that advertising messages can be sent out for next to nothing. And history shows that spammers will take advantage of any broadcast medium available to them, according to Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Counterpane Internet Security.

Spit has the potential to fill people's voicemail in-boxes with junk, he says. "Once you get to the point where you have 10 unsolicited commercial voicemail messages every time you log on people will stop using it or at least only accept calls from people on their white list."

Schneier thinks it will be difficult to weed out Spit messages, but some security vendors are considering defence mechanisms. According to David Thomason, director of security engineering at network security firm Sourcefire, Spit messages would likely have a pattern. Junk calls matching that pattern could be blocked in much the same way malign data traffic can be discarded providing filtering technologies were deployed on the network Spit messages are sent from, he said. ®

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