Last week Sina.com's (SINA) email users were blocked from sending email around the world after global spam monitoring organization Spamhaus blocked a large group of Sina's servers. Spamhaus had warned Sina about its spam problems for at least three years and took action last week after hundreds of complaints and warnings went unanswered at the Chinese web portal.

Late last week and over the weekend Sina.com was in contact with Spamhaus to have the blocks removed. Spamhaus said Sina's removal from its blocklist was conditional on Sina.com removing notorious spamming customers from Sina's servers and fixing the problems which prevented Internet users from sending complaints to Sina.com.

Spamhaus pointed out that if Sina.com had not ignored their users' complaints for three years, this situation would never have arisen. As of today, all blocks are still in place and users of Sina's paid and free email services are still unable to send email to many places around the world.

Spamhaus representative Richard Cox said, "Sina.com's arrogant behaviour is seen by the rest of the Internet outside China as insulting and Sina.com needs to apologize for what they have done, and fix the problems, before their mail can again be accepted."

In a related move, Trend Micro (TMIC) today announced an agreement with Sina.com to provide advanced security protection for users of Sina.com's email services.

Trend Micro will provide a number of security services to Sina's customers, beginning with email scanning services. In the near future, Trend Micro and Sina plan to introduce additional services to Sina's customers, such as online virus scanning for PCs, antivirus security for mobile (wireless) devices, and anti-spam protection.

In 2004, a survey conducted by the Ministry of Public Security in China revealed that nearly 88 percent of the country's computers have been infected by at least one virus. In addition, a study by the Internet Society of China (ISC) found that more than 60 percent of all email traffic was considered spam. Other threats, such as spyware and phishing scams, are becoming more prevalent as well.

Though the Trend Micro arrangement protects Sina's own users from incoming unsolicited commercial email, it does not help Sina remove users who are already using Sina's servers to send spam around the world. Industry experts say that only when Sina better monitors its servers and when it heeds warnings from international watchdogs like Spamhaus will it be able to rid itself of spammers.

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