Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nine Out of Ten Emails Are Spam

A new study from security firm Symantec says that email spam increased 5.1% from April to May, and now accounts for a record high 90.4% of all email.
Of course, Symantec has an interest in making people afraid of spam, since the company makes money selling anti-virus and anti-spyware software. But it's hard to argue with the proposition that spam is only getting worse.
According to the report, much of the new spam observed in May consisted of messages with little content other than a subject line and a link pointed to a social networking site -- a trick to get people to spread viruses.
Symantec also answered a question I've been wondering about: why am I getting so much strange Cyrillic spam? From the report:
Image spam continued into May with Russian language "ransom-style" spam, reminiscent of traditional ransom messages constructed from letters cut out of newspapers. The content appears to read like a ransom message and is constructed from Russian characters taken from different font styles; however, the subject line itself is unrelated, translating into "how to attract customers." The use of the Russian language character set has become more popular in recent spam runs where the Russian character set is used to hide the English language content, a spamming technique deployed to avoid content folders.
So much for Bill Gates' bold prediction made at the World Economic Forum in January 2004: “Two years from now, spam will be solved.”

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