Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nine out of ten e-mails are now spam

Are you really surprised? I'm not. Over half the emails I get everyday are spam, and that's only because I have a spam filter; and guard my mail address- not putting it into every form I come across on the Internet!

Apart from the usual suspects, like American-based sellers of 'performance enhancing' products, the Nigerian scammers who want a small amount of money to rescue their fortune which they will then share with you (now joined by similar Arab scammers); I am disturbed by the growth of local spammers.

For a while, it seemed that local advertisers were benefiting from email advertising, as users where still responsive to it. However, it appears this is changing now as the amount of promotional emails we get is reaching massive proportions.

In any case, what started this conversation, is the latest report from Postini in the US, which shows that spam has tripled since June and now accounts for as many as nine out of 10 e-mails sent worldwide, according to U.S. email security company

Apparently, the company detected 7 billion spam e-mails worldwide in November compared to 2.5 billion in June. A Postini spokesperson went as far as saying that "E-mail systems are overloaded or melting down trying to keep up with all the spam".

A particular example stands out, in Britain where spam has risen by 50 percent in the last two months alone, according to another study by SurfControl.

Research suggest that the United States, China and Poland are the top sources of spam. It is being run by crime organizations. About 200 illegal gangs are behind 80 percent of unwanted e-mails, according to Spamhaus, a body that tracks the problem.
What has allowed this phenomena to grow exponentially is the hijacking of millions of home computers to send e-mails.

These "zombie networks", also called "botnets", and can link 100,000 home computers without their owners' knowledge. Fast broadband Internet connections, which are always connected, help the spammers.
They are leased to gangs who use their huge "free" computing power to send millions of e-mails with relative anonymity.

The costs of dealing with spam is the reason why its become a crime. It costs $1,000 a year per employee in lost productivity and higher computing bills, according to research published last year.

The latest programs mutate to avoid detection and send fewer e-mails from each machine. The gangs send millions of e-mails, so they only need a fraction of people to reply to make a profit.

It’s a constant game of cat and mouse, trying to stop the spammers, by tracking down their servers. But they don’t stay still long enough.

Now, they’re taking things further with ‘phishing’ but that’s a whole other story.

For now, don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution. Use regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spam software and don’t visit untrusted sites, or download code which could turn your PC into a ‘Zombie’.


At 10:58 AM , Anonymous Red Rose said...

I suffer from this also, annoying!
even If I tried to block sender the same mail returned drom variant usernames! It drives me crazy!


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