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The State Of Spam

Filters have gotten so effective at keeping junk e-mail away from users that there's little public outcry against spam today. But behind the scenes, the problem is worse than ever

If billions of spam messages travel throughout the Internet every day, but consumers see just a few of them in their inboxes, do they really exist?

Unsolicited bulk e-mail, otherwise known as spam, accounted for about 80 percent of all the e-mail traffic on the Internet during the first three months of 2006. This was the conclusion reached by the international Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, whose members include AOL, Bell Canada, Cingular Wireless, EarthLink, France Telecom, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo. Together, these organizations account for about 390 million mailboxes.


The State Of Spam


•  Introduction

•  Phishing Comes To The Fore


•  America, The Spam Leader

•  Hidden Costs

•  How Not To Fight Spam

•  Taking On Phishing

•  A Bleak Outlook


And they should know. Microsoft and AOL combined block nearly 5 billion pieces of spam every day. Nearly nine out of every ten e-mail messages at Microsoft's MSN Hotmail are spam. The company says 95 percent of them never reach their intended targets and thus, spam is contained.

"In some ways it's a good news, bad news situation," says Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. "The good news is the filtering systems have become better and better in corporate environments and at Internet service providers. The level of spam users have received has decreased. The bad news is the amount of overall spam hasn't decreased at all. It may be increasing."


"The use of zombies as a tool in tandem with a real-world terrorist attack will happen, I have no doubt." —Neil Schwartzman, CAUCE Canada

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