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The majority of UK consumers and small businesses are yet to deploy anti-spam filters. A poll of UK residential email users and SMEs published Monday found 57 per cent have no anti-spam filtering installed, leaving them unprotected from spam, key logging and phishing attacks. Four in five consumers (82 per cent) have anti-virus protection, predominantly desktop scanners.

Most consumers (60 per cent) polled in the survey from email filtering outfit Checkbridge reckon that their ISP should be responsible for stopping viruses and spam. Only one in five (17 per cent) of consumers believe that it is their responsibility. A quarter (24 per cent) of people surveyed receive 50 or more spam emails a day. Approximately half of the consumers quizzed (47 per cent) said they would be willing to pay between £10-30 per year for the right filtering service. The majority of SMEs (61 per cent) said they would be willing to pay £1-2 per month per user for protection.

Email filtering services have thus far have predominantly targeted the corporate market. Checkbridge's survey suggests consumer ISPs could steal a march on rivals by offering email screening services. As a provider of email filtering services the issue Checkbridge raises is more than a little self-serving but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

The survey comes a week after HSBC announced that it may be forced to refuse customers access to online banking unless they show that they have adequate protection. APACS, the UK payment association, reckons that phishing and key logging Trojan attacks cost banks £12m last year. ®

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