Print 38 comment(s) - last by jemix.. on Jul 21 at 12:33 AM

Americans and Canadians' love of spam has not decreased since the 1950s -- a new survey shows that 1 in 6 respond to spam emails, though most consider themselves internet experts.  (Source:
It's no wonder that spam senders stay active when so many are falling for their schemes

"Don't click the spam... Don't click the spam..." -- perhaps that should become a mantra for internet users in the U.S. and Canada.  A new study (PDF) showed appallingly that one in six users responded to an email posing as spam.

The study was conducted by the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, an anti-spam trade organization, and shows just how gullible many everyday users are.  It surveyed 800 people and found that many responded to the clearly questionable emails.  Its conclusion is that with spam comprising an estimated 85 to 90 percent of email traffic, these kinds of users are helping to sustain "a booming spam-driven underground economy."

The study found that many believe themselves to be internet experts, but few really are.  Two-third of those surveyed said they were “very” or “somewhat” experienced with Internet security.  However, only one third avoided posting their email address online -- an easy entry for spammers, and only one in four used a different email address for submissions that might be shared with spammers.

Two-thirds believed they could identify spam based on the sender’s name, forty-five percent by the subject line, and 22 percent said "visual indicators" clued them into whether an email was spam.  A mere 3 percent looked at the time the email was sent -- one easy way to identify spam.

Those clicking on the study's Cialis or Michael Jackson emails made a variety of excuses for their behavior.  Approximately 17 percent claimed it was a mistake.  Another 12 percent said the subject or service interested them.  The responses become more humorous from there with 13 percent unable to explain what compelled them to click and respond and 6 percent saying they "wanted to see what would happen."

Of those who said they were "very" or "somewhat" experienced, 12 percent opened spam and loaded its images before deleting it -- sometimes enough to infect your computer -- compared to only 11 percent among those who admitted inexperience.  Amusingly, 14 percent of users -- perhaps some of them Apple buyers -- insisted that they would never be victim of a virus.

Research firm Ferris Research said in comments included with the MAAWG report says these people are mistaken.  It states, "You might assume that the more technically savvy you are, the less likely you are to be hit by a virus, but that is not true.  Our previous research indicates that the more you use computers, the more likely you are to get hit by a virus."

The survey shows that as one might predict, many think they know much more than they really do.  And that's happy news to spammers.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By Sunday Ironfoot on 7/19/2009 12:43:44 PM , Rating: 5
"A mere 3 percent looked at the time the email was sent -- one easy way to identify spam."

I'm currious, how is that an easy way to identify spam? Spam can be sent at any time.

By TSS on 7/19/2009 1:49:09 PM , Rating: 5
as am i... looking at my mailbox right now i've got 3 spam emails (already deleted a few earlyer) recieved at 4:43pm, 6:06 PM and 7:19 pm. that doesn't strike me as suspicious really.

the subjects however... well....

eHarmony eHarmony - find singles like you

the caps mostly gives it away. i could imagine some lonely desperate fellow clicking on the eharmony one, but then again why try and contract a virus without the fun evening?

RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By FS on 7/19/2009 2:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
Sometimes it's so obvious. For example, today is the 19th and if you get a mail with July 21st as the date received you know it's Spam.

By Alexstarfire on 7/19/2009 5:33:13 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps, but I never even look at the time. Everything else is a dead give away before I even get that far along the email tag line. I would certainly consider myself a self-proclaimed internet expert, and I can tell you that if you really consider yourself an email expert you don't click on anything that could even remotely be spam.

To be honest I don't even look into my spam folder unless I'm expecting an email to arrive. All my legit email arrives in my inbox. If I happen to get an eBay or Paypal email in my spam folder I just laugh.

RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By AlexWade on 7/19/2009 6:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
I was getting dozens of spam emails a day that made it past the filters. Then I noticed something about them. 95% of them were from my email address. Of course it was forged. But noticing that, I set my mail server to block all emails that it received that were labeled from me and to me. Now, at most 1 email a week gets through my spam filter.

RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By croc on 7/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By psychobriggsy on 7/20/2009 6:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
How did you get to this conclusion?

You don't need to send email from the domain's mail server for it to have a "From:" email address. This is one of the biggest flaws with SMTP, although there are some systems in place to try and stop it like domain keys and so on, but that requires spam filter and email client support.

By Mitch101 on 7/20/2009 8:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
You could turn on reverse lookup but there are so many mis-configured e-mail servers out there on the web. Many without correct DNS records, missing DNS records like they brought the sever online before the DNS records are in place or never configured a DNS record for that e-mail server. If you turn on reverse lookup you would wind up blocking tons of legitimate e-mail so most companies are forced to leave it off. I would love to turn on reverse lookup and even add certificates but the e-mail field has a lot of lousy admins.

Yahoo used to bring up e-mail servers before the DNS records are in place. Sadly a lot of business people have and use Yahoo accounts.

By AlexWade on 7/20/2009 8:29:18 AM , Rating: 2
My email server is password protected. You need a username and password, albeit unsecured, to send emails. The spammers were forging the header data, did you not read that in my post?

RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By Marlonsm on 7/19/2009 3:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
It won't help you identifying all spam, but a message sent at 4:00 AM is either spam, or a very drunk friend, so it's not something you'd want to read seriously.

RE: Using "time sent" to Identify Spam??
By Voo on 7/19/2009 5:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ah the virtues of ignorance.

Ever thought that you could have acquaintance in other timezones as well?

Yeah ok if the time can't be true (2 days in the future..), but I yet have to get spam where a single look in the subject line isn't enough (well, maybe I'm just lucky)..

By Soodey on 7/19/2009 6:36:12 PM , Rating: 3
I have a junk email specifically set up for providing email when I don't trust the source or just don't want them clogging up my real inboxes. Taking a look in that inbox now I see I have an email from Mon, 1/18/38 and another from Mon, 10/15/35. Now obviously, not every spam email is going to be this ridiculous, but hey, it's one easy way to check.

By MonkeyPaw on 7/19/2009 9:08:48 PM , Rating: 5
I'm currious, how is that an easy way to identify spam? Spam can be sent at any time.

Well, I check the time stamps of ALL my emails. While you're all busy doing things the hard way, I'll be receiving deposit after deposit of unclaimed African moneys. You snooze, you lose!

By bodar on 7/20/2009 2:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
What, you don't get the emails from 30 yrs in the future? That's how they try to stay at the top of your inbox.

By ggordonliddy on 7/20/2009 11:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
Al Gore (the CREATOR of the Inter-tubes), taught me my moves. I can breakdance (as it were) through the 'tubes with the best of my brothas. And when I feel sad, I eat some reddish brown squishy logs 'n stuff.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki