Telenor terminated 2.1 million data virus and 90 million spam messages in 2003

Figures from Telenor reveal that e-mail customers have been hit by a dramatic increase in spam messages and virus attacks in 2003. Telenor recommends that its customers combat the problem both through local solutions and through subscriptions for web-based virus and spam filters.

Published: 4 February 2004 13:47

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Telenor is Norway’s largest supplier of e-mail services, with close to one million active e-mail subscribers. More than 800,000 of these are residential customers with Online or Frisurf subscriptions. Telenor introduced its spam filter in 2003 and its virus filter in March 2003. Our statistics reveal that Telenor terminated some 2.1 million viruses and 90 million spam messages (unwanted junk mail) for its customers in 2003. The MyDoom virus is the most recent one to cause havoc around the world, and more than a week after its initial outbreak, Telenor still terminates more than 70,000 viruses every day. Since Tuesday January 27, Telenor has terminated more than 600,000 virus-infected e-mail messages for those of its customers who have web-based virus filters. This means that for the moment one in eight e-mail messages are carrying the MyDoom virus.

“At present there are some 90,000 known viruses in the world. We also registered a new trend in 2003; that spam distributors started using viruses as a tool for spreading the spam. At the close of 2003, between 40 to 50 per cent of all traffic through our servers was spam. E-mail is an amazing communications channel for both businesses and private individuals. But if we are to avoid the pollution of this important channel, it is important that we take the necessary precautions. In addition to not opening any unknown attachments, users should also acquire active spam and virus filters,” said Rolv-Erik Spilling, Director of Internet and Data Communication at Telenor.

In the period from May 1 to December 31, 2003, Telenor registered a doubling in the number of spam messages. Since its introduction, Telenor’s spam filter has become more efficient, and Telenor is currently able to terminate close to 95 per cent of all the spam that is addressed to our e-mail customers. The filter’s fault rate is currently so low that only one in a million wanted e-mails is blocked out by the filter.

Telenor’s spam and virus filters are web-based. A web-based filter blocks all unwanted e-mails centrally in the web before it reaches a company, or a customer’s inbox. Telenor automatically and progressively updates these services around the clock. This gives users rapid protection during the first critical phase of new spam or virus outbreaks. Furthermore, a web-based filter will also have the effect that users will be protected from receiving unwanted e-mails, irrespective of which PC they access their mailboxes from. Many users want to access their e-mail from more than one PC, not least through web-mail.

Telenor expects the spam situation to worsen in 2004, and then to reach its peak in 2005, before the problem will diminish as more and more e-mail users install efficient spam and virus filters.

For a real-time update of the virus situation, check out Telenor’s statistics on:


For more information please contact:

Head of Information Arild S. Johannessen, Telenor Divisjon Bedriftsmarked: (+47) 481 91 921

Head of Information Atle Lessum, Telenor Divisjon Privatmarked: (+47) 415 05 645