Spam plague on the increase


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Spam is getting worse - and gambling is on the list of offenders

Every Internet user has experienced the irritating and time wasting hassle that uninvited hard-sell emails - spam - create, and this week the US specialist network and messaging management company Ipswitch Inc gave an indication of just how bad the plague has become.

The company published the result of its seventh Spamometer survey, revealing that 93 percent of all email received is spam; the highest rate since recording began. This compares with 84 percent the previous quarter and only 62 percent over the same period last year.

Medication spam accounts for over a third of the total amount of undesirable messages clogging up the modern inbox, closely followed by stock tip and phishing emails, which are thought to have been sent to coincide with the recent change in financial years on April 1st.

Medication and Finance/Phishing categories swopped positions from the past quarter. 12 percent of spam emails received were classified as undecipherable due to their makeup of symbols and characters designed to fool less thorough spam filters.

But perhaps the most worrying trend of all was the new entry of gambling spam messages designed to ride on the coat tails of the current online gambling phenomenon across the globe, the company comments.

The worst spammers are from the following industries:

1. Medication - 34 percent - (up from 2)
2. Finance/Phishing - 33 percent - (down from 1)
3. Undecipherable - 12 percent - (New Entry)
4. Gambling - 7 percent - (New Entry)
5. Pornography - 5 percent - (down from 4)

Earlier this month, IDC published a study warning of a resurgence of spam and predicted that over 40 billion spam messages will be sent daily worldwide in 2007 (see previous InfoPowa report).

"Spam volumes are growing faster than expected due to the success of image-based spam in bypassing antispam filters and of email sender identity spoofing in getting higher response rates," said IDC's Collaborative Computing and Enterprise Workplace research program VP, Mark Levitt.

"This is a worrying time for corporate communications with the amount of spam arriving in corporate inboxes showing no sign of waning," said Tripp Allen, VP of messaging products for Ipswitch. "The importance of having an efficient antispam filter that is flexible, extensible and provides automatic updates 24x7, is now more important than ever."