TECHNOLOGY: Security, email and SPAM

Posted on January 20, 2008. Filed under: Technology |

Reading through Australia’s IT news roundup over the last few weeks has been illuminating.

Security

Take security exploits and spam for example. This reminder on SQL exploits welcomed us back to the new year, alongside this note about how 70K web pages were hacked in a single week. And a new take on the hijacking side things was scary (but inventive): the printer hijacking method. Or perhaps just using Windows Server 2008 is enough. In any case, you’ve been warned. That won’t matter for some though, given that many still fall for lottery scams. Especially ones from the FBI. Oh, and brace yourself for Valentines Day.

Email

And speaking of email, more interesting (or depressing) were the SPAM statistics delivered by various parties. Reportedly 95% of all email traffic in 2007 was spam. Can this be true? I get a lot of spam, but 95% seems excessive. The results did come from an anti-spam firm, so perhaps they were measuring outside the norm…

Not to be outdone, another Spam monitoring company pegged the figure at 97%. I tried to get more information on how they come up with these figures, but the details are sketchy at best. For example, did they include intra-company emails (by far most of the emails I deal with come from my work colleagues) or were these excluded, and only external email sources included in their scans?

Spam traction

Either way, there’s a lot of rubbish email floating around these days. The interesting point in all this is how it manages to get any traction. The answer is in the technology the spammers use. Spammers aren’t all old school – many of the successful spammers are using attachments with MP3s, videos, SWF files, documents and other items that grab (fool) the readers attention.

Fed up with all the spam you get? Yeah, well spare a thought for the techies over at SpamStopsHere:

“SpamStopsHere has a team of technicians that review spam 24/7. This allows us to update our system every minute and block the latest spam campaigns.”

As if getting regular spam isn’t bad enough, these guys have to look at it all day long as part of their job. They must be awesome conversationalists at parties…

But here’s the scary part…

In the end, all the hassles of spam and virus attacks, web sites going down and general time wastage, are nothing compared to the most frightening threat: the ‘powers that be‘ that start deciding your privacy today is worth far less than it was yesterday.

 

[And if all that isn’t disruptive enough, seems there’s a damn sunspot out to cause havoc. Out damn spot.]

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One Response to “TECHNOLOGY: Security, email and SPAM”

RSS Feed for Craig Bailey on Microsoft Comments RSS Feed

Hi Craig.

I believe the 95 – 97% figures. This morning, I received 475 messages, four of which were legitimate. 475 is higher than usual; normally I pull in about 175 first thing in the morning (most of my spam arrives overnight).

Doug


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