Friday, July 20, 2012

SPAM (Part 1 of 2)

Unless one is purposely avoiding the news, one has heard about the recent SQL injection attack which compromised approximately 400,000 user names and passwords on various email providers, Yahoo! being the most prominent.

Once this happens, it does not take long for the various email scams to start another wave trying to catch unsuspecting people.  I know as one of my friend’s email accounts got her password compromised and as such, I received such an email: It stated that she was on vacation in the Philippines and got mugged and all her valuables were taken, couldn’t pay the hotel bill and could I send $1,900 to an address which ended in a .RU (Russian) domain. 

As my friend really was on vacation, this had a modicum of plausibility.  But then I realize that she is with her husband, hotels are reserved by credits cards in advance of checking in, and she was not in the Philippines.

But it does beg the question: Why does Spam email still exist?  Hasn’t that scourge been eradicated yet?

You’d be wrong.  According to Symantec, 90% of all email sent is Spam.  Think about that: for every 10 messages sent, 9 are spam.

So why don’t we see more spam in our email boxes?  Because internet providers have a vested interest in making certain that spam doesn’t flow through their servers.  If you have internet metering, you totally understand.  Internet Service Providers have to pay for the bandwidth they provide and all bandwidth that is wasteful is wasteful to the customer and themselves.

So we have spam messages that are totally unbelievable, and Internet Service Providers intent on saving bandwidth and computer security companies dedicated to creating a product or service which will remove the scourge of Spam.  But spam exists despite these efforts.  So why do the spammers do this?  I’ll answer that next time.

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