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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: Zoice.com)
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.



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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: x@domain.com" 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?


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