What is an Abuse Desk?

By Chris Newcomb

What is an Abuse desk?

When people want to notify a company of abuse of their services such as spamming, proliferating malware, hosting phishing sites, copyright violations, etc., they will generally notify abuse@companywebsite.com. Ensuring that you have an “abuse@” email address setup is the first step. To start, this can simply be a mailbox that you check and manage the notices you receive. Should the numbers increase or you have multiple people working the complaints, I highly recommend you look into software that is made to process Abuse Complaints. Another thing to note is that you want to make sure that your “abuse@” address is not behind spam filtering as you want to make sure you receive any email that is sent to the address.

Why is an Abuse desk important?

Having an active abuse desk will allow you to be notified of issues on your network that need to be addressed. Along with complaints of abuse of your network, many third party companies will automatically send you notices of vulnerable assets on your network. I like to think of this as free security testing as this allows you to keep your network as clean as possible and protect your good reputation. Being a good net citizen can also help with obtaining and retaining business. No company wants to be associated with a network that has blacklisted IP addresses, which can directly affect them, or associate with a network that is turning a blind eye to nefarious activity.

What else can I do?

There are many third party organizations that are itching to send you complaints of abuse related to your network. Some of these are known as feedback loops. For example, when you mark something as spam in your email service or client it often results in an abuse complaint being sent to the network responsible for the spam. You can read up on feedback loops and where to sign up for them at this helpful page.

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