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CRTC finds malware the culprit in its first anti-spam probe

Computer-generated e-mail screen showing excessive spam.

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The federal regulator in charge of implementing Canada's new anti-spam law has concluded its first investigation since coming into force on July 1.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced on Tuesday that a small business in Saskatchewan was the target of an investigation after millions of spam messages were sent out from its computer server.

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Complaints about the messages arose in July. The business, a computer reseller, was not sending the messages intentionally, the CRTC found. Rather, its server had become infected with malware – malicious software that can take over a computer and use it for its own purposes, without the owner's knowledge.

The CRTC worked with the business and with its Internet service provider, Access Communications, to thwart that activity. The CRTC did not issue a fine.

Since July, the Spam Reporting Centre, which the CRTC oversees, has received more than 120,000 complaints. According to spokeswoman Patricia Valladao, the CRTC is in the midst of a number of investigations.

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