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Verizon Clears Spam From System

December 22, 2000 

NEW YORK (AP) - Verizon Communications said Wednesday that its system is back in full operation after being slowed by a wave of millions of junk messages that delayed e-mail for as many as 200,000 of its Internet customers on the East Coast.

"Each time it was tens of millions of messages. Our mail servers could not handle it," Verizon spokesman Larry Plumb said from Arlington, Va.

Plumb said the first spam attack occurred Nov. 19, with additional attacks on Nov. 20 and Dec. 5.

"We didn't lose any messages but some were severely delayed," Plumb said. "Some message were delayed a week or more."

The company is still investigating the source of the junk e-mails, Plumb said, although Verizon knows the Internet service provider from which the messages originated.

Plumb said most of the delays involved residential and business customers in the old Bell Atlantic territory - stretching from Virginia to Maine - who subscribe to the company's dial-up Internet service.

"A rough number was around 200,000 subscribers," Plumb said. "The actual number was maybe a third of that. It was a substantial number of customers."

Plumb said the company has added servers to its system to give it more capacity, and strengthened security to speed up the message traffic.

PATRICK CASEY, Associated Press Writer

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