Wednesday, December 07, 2005

TECH | Spam: A thing of the past!

Can we ever really eliminate spam (junk email)?

Apparently, Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, thinks so. He has made a bold statement that his company is developing solutions that will make spam a thing of the past, within two years."

To begin with, let's commend Mr. Gates on his bright vision of the future and hope that his company can actually do enough to substantially reduce spam, even if not eliminate it completely. The technologies to do so are now in the works.

This week, in particular, users around the world were praying for a solution, as the Sober worm, in several of its guises, spammed the Internet endlessly bringing down servers that were over run with the amount of incoming email.

Even commercial-based spam has escalated to ridiculously high levels as spammers have focused more on two or three particular fields which include personal finance (stock and investment advice and services), medical products (especially aphrodisiacs) and, of course, pornography.

Since early 2004, Microsoft has been pursuing means to fight this net infestation, and it's recently revealed a tool called 'SNARF' which sniffs out spam from Internet servers all over the world.

Still, these technologies are not thoroughly tested, and haven't proven their effectiveness yet. But it's a start.

More interesting are some ideas that 'tax' or 'charge' a spammer. If an email sender is broadcasting, for example, more than 10,000 emails, then there would be a fee or charge to do so. That way, spammers who exceed a set limit will be unable to carry out their activities.

Gates once explained that "human challenges" that force the sender to solve a puzzle, or the computer sending the e-mail to do a simple computation could make it very difficult and very expensive for a spammer sending out tens of thousands of messages!

So, this is the line of thinking that Microsoft is pursuing.

Responding to what Gates said, several software security firms have actually stepped up to warn users not to let down their guard and to understand that spam will remain a problem throughout 2006. Some of these companies, like Sophos, have gone as far as to say that "Gates is wrong regarding spam. There is no end in sight for spam".

But, there's always hope and we all agree that, at the very least, a solution is diligently sought and the extent of the spam problem must be reduced.

As the Internet grows, so will spam, and try to imagine how much you will depend on the Internet in every facet of your life, and then imagine how you might have to cope with tedious, virus-infested spam every step of the way. It's not a pretty picture.

For once, and it pains me to say this, let's all stand behind Bill Gates.
(Published in The Star)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home