Brightmail: 56% of E-Mail Is Spam

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The deluge of spam shows no sign of receding, according to figures released by anti-spam software company Brightmail.


Brightmail found that 56 percent of e-mail traffic in November was spam, a 4 percent rise from spam's share of all e-mail from October. Spam accounted for 42 percent of e-mail at the start of the year, the company said. The November spam figure is the highest Brightmail has ever recorded.


The San Francisco company tracks spam through its Probe Network, which deploys dummy e-mail accounts to identify spam messages that it then blocks for clients. It blocked 77 billion messages in November.


Product e-mail hawking items like clothing, makeup and investigative services remained the most prevalent spam category, accounting for 22 percent of the spam Brightmail blocked. It was followed by financial services at 17 percent; adult material with 16 percent; and scams at 13 percent.


A survey of small businesses released Dec. 3 by Internet security company Symantec, Cupertino, CA, indicates that the frustration and cost of dealing with spam has caused many to consider drastic measures: 42 percent said they would consider abandoning e-mail for business communications, and 56 percent said they would consider letting through e-mail from approved senders only.


Spammers continue to elude the plethora of filtering technologies now deployed by Internet service providers, corporate IT departments and regular computer users.


Another e-mail security firm, United Kingdom-based Sophos, said Dec. 3 that spammers increasingly are hiding their identity by hijacking the computers of unsuspecting users with non-secure broadband connections. Sophos estimates that so-called Remote Access Tools letting spammers take control of computers remotely now account for 30 percent of all spam messages. Such techniques make tracking down spammers even tougher.


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