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Forty Percent of All Email is Spam

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the enlarge-your-make-money-fast-in-nigeria dept.

Spam 625

PCOL writes "There's an interesting article on spam in today's Washington Post which includes an inside look at AOL's spam control center in Northern Virginia. The story reports that roughly 40 percent of all e-mail traffic in the US is now spam, up from 8 percent in late 2001 and nearly doubling in the past six months; that AOL's spam filters now block 1 billion messages a day; and that spam will cost U.S. organizations more than $10 billion this year from lost productivity and the equipment, software and manpower needed to combat the problem."

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Good percentage (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502868)

Compared to Slashdot posts!

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502872)

but what percentage of /. postings are trolls?

I don' t know, Faggot. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503062)

I don't know, Faggot.
Wait that's flamebait...

sure, sure. (4, Funny)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502873)

And 90% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Re:sure, sure. (3, Funny)

oldmacdonald (80995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502883)

Not true, your statistic was made up ages ago.

Re:sure, sure. (1)

NitroPye (594566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502931)

I am pretty suer its 87.2 of all statistics are made of on the spot.

You obviously did not take: hotair 101 or introduction to blowhards

Re:sure, sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503019)

No, it has gone up. Although, it's actually 90.4274578129% to be precise.

Another stat (5, Funny)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502877)

Ironic. Forty percent of spam is pork.

Re:Another stat (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502949)

Let's storm Congress, then - obviously they're the source...

Re:Another stat (2, Funny)

tm1rules (444525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503054)

So, 16% of all email is pork? Tasty!

Re:Another stat (0, Offtopic)

Didion Sprague (615213) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503072)

Do you mean 'pork shoulder' or 'ham?' As I understand it -- and I've written about real Spam here [slashdot.org] -- Spam is combination of pork shoulder and ham.

Are you saying that Spam is 40% combined pork shoulder and ham? If so, then what's the other 60%? Water? Salt?

Serious question. I'm curious.

And actually -- back on-topic -- I'm surprised the percentage of spam email is so low. My email is most certainly 90% spam -- possibly 95%.

Re:Another stat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503095)

And easily 40% of my income income is confiscated via taxes. I don't give a fsck about spam...what can we do to rein in out-of-control government spending???

Re:Another stat (2, Funny)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503161)

Forty percent of email is em

Works in Ascii, Ebcdic and Unicode

(no, there isn't a null at the end)

40% ...? (4, Funny)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502885)

So who gets the 60% of the regular email I'm supposed to get?

Re:40% ...? (5, Funny)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502950)

It's deleted by the spam filters.

Time to (0, Flamebait)

mattboston (537016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502889)

call your congressperson and have them pass an anti-spam bill. that's the only way to solve this problem

Re:Time to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502937)

How about we sign up a few congressmen's email address for spam?

Mod parent as FUNNY (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502939)

"call your congressperson and have them pass an anti-spam bill. that's the only way to solve this problem"


Yeah right. Just like the new telemarketing bill that has loopholes for some of the worst telemarketers.

Laws fix everything! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503074)

Just like those laws against terrorism.

I'm a conservative! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502890)

Oh, I'm a Republican
I got a small schling
I like to bomb niggahs
and make a lot o' bling

I got a bunch o' friends
in high up places
They helps me get dem
government graces.

You think I'm smart
I just know who's who
I couldn't run a fruit stand
without the red white & blue

I'll drop some crap
about Jesus the Christ
You'll buy it all
and vote for me twice

'Fact, Jesus is comin'!
Real soon, now!
So we gotta prop up Israel
That ol' sacred cow

Don't need no history
Don't need no schoolin'
I got my ideology
To keep me a shootin'

Liberals! Faggots!
Commies and queers!
Socialist hippies
Full o' pussy tears

Facts? No! Don't need em here!
We're conservatives! We work on FEAR!
Don't like what we say?
Well FUCK YOU, bud!
We'll shove it down yer throat
and tell ya it's good!

Propaganda's m'friend
But I calls it "fact"
Even though I don't read
'Cept for Chick tracts

Antisemitic post (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502997)

Kind of funny when a post that attacks someone for "fear" includes a bit of anti-semitism midway through it.

"Propaganda's m'friend But I calls it "fact""

Propaganda is in fact typically a meaningless term. Quite often what is labelled "propaganda" is factual, but it is labelled "propaganda" for the sole reason that the opponent does not agree with the facts presented and would rather see them censored or otherwise dismissed.

now i get spam (2, Interesting)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502891)

about spam stopping software.

Re:now i get spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503050)

Sounds like that's a good way of reaching their target audience. After all, if you read their email, you most probably have a spam problem and may benefit from using their software.

Only 40%? (1, Funny)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502893)

I seem to get a lot more spam than "legitimate" email. I guess I must have fewer friends. :(

Re:Only 40%? (1)

lunatick (32698) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502969)

Join the party, I know I get much more spam than real e-mail to the tune of 50-100 spams per day.
*sigh* Unfortunately their isn't much you can do. My spam filters dlock out domains that are nothing but spam but they just get a different domain and I am back to square 1. so I am back to using the low tech alternative the Delete key :)

Re:Only 40%? (4, Funny)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502972)

Maybe you have lots of friends and they're all filling out those "notify my friends" forms?

Also (-1, Redundant)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502899)

40 percent of Slashdot is spam. The other 59% is worthless, then there is the 1% of interesting stuff at -1.

Agreed, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503090)

...will anyone see this

My tests shows (1, Insightful)

brakk (93385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502900)

90% of my email is spam

Accuracy (3, Insightful)

NitroPye (594566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502902)

I wondder how accurate the AOL spam filter is. If some people are accidentaly getting their emails blocked or others not getting emails delivered. Does anyone know on which principal the AOL filter works. Is it just a bunch of email addresses known to be spammers or is it some kind of guessing filter that has certain words and phrases coined as spam.

Re:Accuracy (4, Insightful)

bheerssen (534014) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502967)

A follow up question: how much spam gets past their filters and do they use a standard deviation accordingly to arrive at those numbers? It is conceivable that the actual figure is higher.

Re:Accuracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503030)

Even if its only 70% accurate, thats still 700,000,000 emails. At a cost of $10bn per year, its about time that its was illegal country wide, made a felony and a section of the FBI setup and funded by a $1 per quarter employee tax on companies. They should then track down, arrest, beat and torture these non-people, put them on a stinking shithole island, Australia well do and then let them rot in hell. Forcing them to listen to the Canadian screamer, Celine or even worst, Witney...

Optimistic (5, Insightful)

Rosonowski (250492) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502904)

I think this is a bit optimistic. I get 300 peices of email a day, and I'm lucky if more then 50 are legitimate mail.

Re:Optimistic (5, Funny)

grylnsmn (460178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503079)

Oh yeah? Well I send over a million emails a day, and I'm lucky if 10 of them are legitimate!

AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502907)


The front line in the war against spam is inside an unmarked building in Northern Virginia, where a bank of computer screens tracks the volume of e-mail pouring into the system used by America Online's 35 million subscribers.

AOL is a spam fighter? Sometimes I think that spam was born because of AOL and its users.
LOL!

Blame on us... (-1, Troll)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502910)

...contaminating the spam with ocassional normal emails. For what you thinked it is the mail system?

Smell a dupe? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502911)

C'mon fellas, another dupe is in order here...

Oh no! The world is coming to an end!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502913)

It's fucking Spam. Hit delete and get over it. Stop with all the ludicrous "service theft" analogies. Hit delete and get a fucking life.

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/Insert\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)__Cock_|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\_Here_/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.





Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new th

only? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502914)

you gotta be kidding!

Cost/Benefit (2, Funny)

rcs2 (261027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502916)

Are there any estimates to the total revenue generated by spam for spammers? If it were less than $10 billion, we should be able to simply bribe them to stop spamming.

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

GlamdringLFO (592548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503069)

Sounds like a protection racket to me.

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503155)

Great, so go after the ones in the US under the RICO statues (organized crime). This will allow the Feds to sieze Alan Ralsky's big house (we all remember where he lives, right?) and his nice cars and trade them for a nice orange suit while Mr. Ralsky awaits trial.

Cheers,
-- RLJ

Does not surprise me (2, Insightful)

nenolod (546272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502918)

I'd say more like 60% though. However, i'd also say that 40% of idiots make up statistics to prove their point, and 90% of people know that.

Anyway, I get about 1800 messages a day, total. Messages are ran through procmail and a complex spam filtering perl script that I wrote for myself. about 600-700 messages are blocked per day, therefore being more than 40%.

I'd also state that most SMB popups are SPAM.

Re:Does not surprise me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502956)

Would you like a hero biscuit fucktard? Wooo, you wrote a spam filtering script like a million other people. You're my hero!

You're kinda dumb, though. 600 is 33% of 1800 messages. What the hell is it that you're saying?

in my inbox today: (3, Funny)

greenalbatros (215035) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502919)

Did you know 40% of all email is spam?!! to find out mo...

Maybe that's the way to go... (2, Interesting)

irving47 (73147) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502924)

Continued statistics like that, with economical impacts in the billions might attract enough federal attention to get some standardized laws across the board.

Sure, we'll still have to worry about foreign sources, but I'm sure the U.N. will be happy to help with this issue.

Sounds about right to me (5, Interesting)

utmslave (179598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502928)

I administer a Spam filter for a state University in Tennessee. Since I began filtering, I have trapped about 42% of all email bound for faculty and staff. Some spam still gets through, but the impact on our pop and imap servers has been greatly reduced.

550 Spammer Go Away!

What is spam? (2, Interesting)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502936)

I don't want to quibble about the specific number, but how do they decide what is spam? Much of the decision is somewhat ambiguous.

Re:What is spam? (0)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503012)

I don't want to quibble about the specific number, but how do they decide what is spam? Much of the decision is somewhat ambiguous.

whats ambiguous about this below??

-----Original Message-----
From: Justin [mailto:suannewilcox@jovem.com]
Sent: Thu 3/13/2003 7:59 AM
To: me me me me
Cc:
Subject: SPAMWARNING:218.239.114.146:No painful penis enlargement stretching required

Hello, 5q7w4ho 5q7w4h2

Would you like a larger penis...? or for your spouse to have a larger one. 5q7w4hd 5q7w4hl
Our product is 100% guaranteed to add permanent length and girth to a 5q7w4hq 5q7w4hi
males erection. At least 2.5 and up to 4 inches have been recorded throughout
all of our extensive testing. You cant go wrong with this wonderful 5q7w4h4 5q7w4hj
life changing product. Get the confidence and size you've always wanted 5q7w4hx 5q7w4h3
today. And remember, its guaranteed! 5q7w4ht 5q7w4h7

Check it out right here 5q7w4hy 5q7w4or

*Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Just call is for a return authorization, send in the unused portion 5q7w4o6 5q7w4ok5q7w4o1 5q7w4og

and we will refund your money (less shipping and handling) immediately.5q7w4oe 5q7w4oz5q7w4o5 5q7w4oo

5q7w4ow 5q7w4od5q7w4on 5q7w4oq5q7w4of 5q7w4o45q7w4ob 5q7w4ox5q7w4om 5q7w4ot5q7w4ov 5q7w4oy5q7w4wc 5q7w4w65q7w4wa 5q7w4w15q7w4wp 5q7w4we

5q7w4ws 5q7w4w55q7w4wh 5q7w4ww

originator SMTP host is listed

Not ambiguous. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503041)

I don't have any problem determining what spam is and what it isn't. Why would there be any ambiguity?

Re:What is spam? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503061)

Well, it's really quite simple. They do a Bayesian filter based on Your posts. :-) :-)

This is exactly what we need... (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502938)

to stop spam permanently.

Once spam makes a substantial dent in corporate america's profits, you can bet there will be a federal law passed banning the practice. Granted, we slashdotters might not like the fact that Corporate America(tm) controls Congress, but in this case, it can actually do us some good...

Cutting through the myths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502963)

"Granted, we slashdotters might not like the fact that Corporate America(tm) controls Congress"

Enough with the wacky left-wing conspiracy theories.

Funny way Congress has of serving those who "control" it: they tax the hell out of the vast majority of corporations and are always adding on more regulations and hindrances.

Interesting indeed... (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503125)

Okay, you caught me. Corporate America is our favorite scapegoat...

But seriously, though, in the US, money is power. Since the current administration is rather business friendly (and this is NOT necessarily a bad thing - I have to eat, too...), the big corporations have a bit more lattitude to "suggest" laws than they did in previous administrations. My point was that someone with the power to change things is finally taking notice of the spam problem.

Spam Control (4, Interesting)

cheezus_es_lard (557559) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502941)

So, we all agree that Spam is a problem. We all agree that legislating Spam out of existance isn't going to work, due to the international design of the Internet. So what needs to be developed is a backwards-compatible mail transfer protocol that authenticates the user to the sending server and forwards the message to the recieving server, who contacts the sending server back and verifies the user's identity.

I'm no software designer, but surely we could find some concept for migrating off of SMTP and POP and to a better, more secure protocol.

Other thoughts?

-cheezus_es_lard

Re:Spam Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503021)

http://www.cypherspace.org/~adam/hashcash/
Anonym ity can still be preserved.

Re:Spam Control (4, Interesting)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503063)

I'm no software designer, but surely we could find some concept for migrating off of SMTP and POP and to a better, more secure protocol.

It's not a technical issue (ignoring open relays, which can already be fixed without changing any protocols).

The fundamental issue is that one of the most important uses of email is to let anybody, anywhere email you, with no hassle. Of course, spammers take advantage of that.

What's needed is accountability. Give someone internet or smtp access? Make sure you have a way of billing them for any spam they send, and put it in big letters when they sign up.

Re:Spam Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503065)

I'm no software designer, but surely we could find some concept for migrating off of SMTP and POP

That is obvious. POP won't stop the e-mail from being delivered or held at the ISP.

Re:Spam Control (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503091)

I'm no software designer, but surely we could find some concept for migrating off of SMTP and POP and to a better, more secure protocol

Sure. Just like we convinced everyone to close off their open relays. Not going to work.

Re:Spam Control (4, Insightful)

Ravensign (134410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503096)

I agree with this principle.

At what % do we look around and say, its time for a new protocol with spam avoidance built in?

50, 60, 75?

Re:Spam Control (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503126)

... And exactly how do you handle spam while you invent this new protocol? Consider that it will take at LEAST 5 years to design, develop, and adopt a new technology. Shit, the amount of legacy systems is HUGE! Even my freaking PRINTER supports it.

Take this with a grain of salt (5, Insightful)

mrhandstand (233183) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502942)

The srticle states that 40% of Internet traffic is Spam. And where does this statistic comec from? From Brightmail...a vendor of anti-spam software. Remember...liars, damn liars, and statisticians

Re:Take this with a grain of salt (4, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503097)

The srticle states that 40% of Internet traffic is Spam

No, the article states that 40% of email is spam.

Which, frankly, seems low. But perhaps they're including corporate email, which often sees a much lower spam level.

I'm still trying to find estimates on how much of all Internet traffic is from SMTP -- I've seen estimates of anything from 5% to 30%.

Re:Take this with a grain of salt (1)

mbyte (65875) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503112)

I can second this statistics at least somehow. about 50-60% of our inbound email is spam (that is, what spamassassin did filter)

I believe it. (1)

SunCrushr (153472) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502947)

Over 80% of the emails I receive into my main email box are spam. If I get one more "buy this pasta pot" or "enlarge a body part" email I'm gonna go crazy.
Seriously, I'd like anyone'e opinion/ideas on what may be done about the spam issue besides filters.
Any ideas? Post!

Lengthen your fingers today (2, Funny)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503104)

Are you tired of not being able to play the piano or type as gracefully as you should be able to? Are your stubby fingers not as dexterious for those little jobs? You need our herbal finger lenghtener! When used over a five week period most test subjects lengthened their fingers by more than 20%.
It's all natural and quite inexpensive compared to the productivity increase you will have with longer more graceful fingers.

Re:I believe it. (2, Informative)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503143)

like anyone'e opinion/ideas on what may be done about the spam issue besides filters.

all i did was register a new domain, run smtp/sendmail/squirrelmail from home (dsl connection). this really is a $40 solution, provided you already have the hardware (you have to pay for the domain).

Make sure you don't give out your address too much, and spam becomes non-existent. if, and when you start receiving spam, turn on spam filters (they come with squirrelmail). if this fails, just change your email address, cause damn, you're running the server!

Losing a figurative war on spam (5, Insightful)

Nonac (132029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502951)

Aside from the AOL spam control center, most of the spam prevention discussed in this email is aimed at trying to stop the sender through legislation and black lists. Legislation will never work, and black lists are marginal.

The answer to this shortcoming in the current email infrastructure is redesigning email protocols to allow spam to be stopped as it is sent.

I don't have the answer, but something that forces the sender to verify that the recipient will accept the message before it is relayed will be a start. I also like the idea that came from Microsoft recently of forcing the sender to pay the recipient a small amount of money.

The problem with bayesian filters is that they filter too much spam. The more people that use bayesian filters, the more messages the spammers will have to send to get through. Because it is almost free to send messages, they will continue to increase the number of messages they send until it gets to a point that email infrastructure can't handle it anymore.

Speaking from Experience (3, Informative)

DLG (14172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502952)

In the past 2 months, using a combination of tools including SpamAssassin, I have managed to block approximately 32000 spam mail a week. This is more than 50% of our incoming mail.

I will note that in general this is only coming to around 20% of our users. It is approximately 100 messages per user per day. This actually seems reasonable compared to one of my email accounts that is on a webpage.

So I would say the only reason the amount of spam is so low is that enough people in our firm don't give out their firm email addresses on the internet to strangers.

Although they do miss out on alot of great offers for Hovercraft Toys.

Re:Speaking from Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503153)

I would have to agree. The filter here at my organization catches a lot of spam, but it's mainly directed at about 10-15 users. As long as they're careful with how they use their email address, users shouldn't be inundated with a ton of spam.

surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502958)

I think not- too much spam

I hate spiced ham. That fucking mailman leaves me way too much- way can't he just run off with my wife?

Well... (1, Funny)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502966)

I have no friends, 100% of my emails are Spam!

I think (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5502977)

Slashdot moderators are morons.

What say you "just hit delete" crowd? (4, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502979)

Citing "Freedom of speach", the first ammendment, etc, there still seems to be an ignorant crowd that thinks that we shouldn't have any legal means to curb spam. They still think technology can solve a social problem. As ISPs put increasingly invasive filters on email servers, legit email gets lost. When 99% of all email is spam, will you STILL think it's ok? When ISP's raise your internet fees due to spam, will you still defend its legality? When you are on the road paying $.50 / minute downloading spam for half an hour, even though your local filter blocks it from your view will you still be happy?

There are people who want to re-invent the email protocol to solve the problem. Yeah, doing something technological can help the FUTURE, but what are we going to do for the 5 years it takes to develop, implement, and deploy this new technology?

Think about it.

Re:What say you "just hit delete" crowd? (3, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503033)

"Yeah, doing something technological can help the FUTURE, but what are we going to do for the 5 years it takes to develop, implement, and deploy this new technology?"

Probably the same thing we would do if we didn't develop the tech. Just sit there and delete spam.

Technological solutions will be easiest (5, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5502988)

The real problem with spam is the economics: it costs next to nothing to send a message, the only real cost (time) is borne by the recipient. Fix that problem and spam will go away. It doesn't need legislation, which in any case could apply in just one jurisdiction.

A system like Hash Cash [cypherspace.org] could solve the problem. The most popular free mail clients could start including hash-cash postage with each sent message, and then in a couple of years' time start to drop incoming messages that don't have postage paid. AOL could include hash cash in their mail client easily. *Easily*. That spam-detection centre they run is not cheap. Even Microsoft would add hash cash to Outlook, Outlook Express and Hotmail, since it's another encouragement to upgrade to a new Outlook release (which of course requires a new Windows version).

Getting the whole world to upgrade its mail clients is a hard task, but getting every government in the world to pass anti-spam laws and enforce them is much harder. Goodness knows it's bad enough trying to get _one_ legislature to take a sane view on anything technology-related.

isn't it ironic??? (5, Insightful)

Botchka (589180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503002)

that the biggest purveyor of filling my postal mail box with crap that I haven't signed up for or asked for (ie: cd's and cd holders that are worthless), is now fighting spam. Give me a break! How about they stop mailing those stupid #@%@$%^& cd's and filling the landfills with garbage that doesn't degrade. They are hypocrites!

4% of all users are Trolls (1, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503009)

According to some study I read somewhere.

Snail-Mail Spam? (1)

rgf71 (448062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503016)

I wonder how much it costs the USPS from lost productivity, equipment, software and manpower needed to combat the problem of THOSE DAMNED AOL CDs!?

Re:Snail-Mail Spam? (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503085)

USPS probably makes money on them, since AOL actually pays to get them delivered.

Spammunition (5, Informative)

BlackjackGuy (631964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503029)

My spam problems have almost entirely gone away since installing Spammunition [upserve.com] . It's a bayesian filter for MS Outlook. Wish I didn't have to use MS Outlook but it's a requirement at work.

Bayesian filters are definitely the way to go. They flat-out *work*. Other programs I've used just didn't perform, like Cloudmark Spamnet.

Go after the businesses who pay spammers (5, Insightful)

kalislashdot (229144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503032)

You know it's a funny thing because businesses like and hate spam. They like it because it brings in money and they hate it because they have to spend money on spam filters and lost work time.

Here is a possible solution. Spammers cover their tracks. Well instead of trying to go after spammers go after the business that use them. Those businesses MUST be traceable because they include ways to buy their product. If we must make a law, which would only work in the US, it should say "You can't hire a spammer to send your mail". Then when www.pacificmeds.com sends me a spam for "save money on prescription drugs" they can be fined.

Go after the source, not the person who fills the need. Once the need is squashed by the law spam will reduce greatly.

I hate spam (Don't we all) (3, Insightful)

SirLantos (559182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503037)

{Complaint}It the past 6 months are so I have been recieving about 200% more spam. I get to work in the morning and delete 90% of my e-mail becasue its spam. Out of every 200-300 e-mails I recieve, I actual only care about 10-20 of them, the rest is spam.{/Complaint}

The problem is that nobody can find a reasonable solution. Here are some examples of common solutions:
1."Make spam illegal out right."
Problem: OK, this is a bit extreme. Even if you did manage to do that, companies from outside the US or companies/people can hide where the e-mails are coming from, good luck catching them.

2."Charge for e-mails."
Problem: The people that want that are the post office folks. I seriously doubt anybody would sit back and allow this. Just thinking about pisses me off.

3."Find the people that send spam and destroy them."
Problem: OK, this is my personal favorite. But, the goverment already made that illegal. It's like the saying goes: "Some people are alive simply because it is illegal to kill them." BTW, all of you peeps out there that are going to yell at me for suggesting something like that: RELAX, IT WAS A JOKE!!! Have a sense of humor for goodness sake.

That's just my opinion,
SirLantos

Reason for increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503039)

Most of the new "spam" are resumes being emailed out by out of work programmers.

40% spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503049)

This is a very interesting statistic.
Long time slashdot readers will note that the posts for any given story usually settle down to about 33.3%-45% "-1" ratings.

I'm just saying.

in other news ... (5, Funny)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503051)

after renaming "french fries" Congress has just decided to rename "spam" as "french email" !

Ratio is higher here (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503056)

3 legitimate Emails and 81 spams this morning. typically my spam filter catches between 60-120 a day on my work address and I have to add 3-4 more rules a week to keep it down.

A simple solution is replacing the broken SMTP with something that requires authentication and doesnt give you the ability to modify the headers unless you run the server. If the spammers have to use real email addresses or had a real way of tracking them easily attached to every email, they would stop.

Just like how cockroaches scatter when you turn on the lights.

Psychological profile of spammers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5503060)

One thing about spam that stands out, is that so much of it is of a very explicit sexual nature. It is sent indiscriminately to individuals who are unlikely to have any use for these products and services.

My theory: most spammers are the cyber equivalent of "flashers" - sexual deviants who derive thrill from shocking unsuspecting citizens. I believe that the products offered are largely irrelevant. It is the shock value which motivates the spammer. Perhaps they could be prosecuted under similar sex crimes laws that allow us to go after the "flasher".

AOL is the Front Line? (1)

cindik (650476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503089)

The front line in the war against spam is inside an unmarked building in Northern Virginia, where a bank of computer screens tracks the volume of e-mail pouring into the system used by America Online's 35 million subscribers.

If AOL is the front line, then it's "Springtime for Spammer and Pornography!"

The 40% figure is interesting - I wonder how they calculated that number?

At work, my email is about 80% spam, 15% inhouse email, and 5% legitimate internet email. My new slashdot@cindik.com address (started about two weeks ago and going away real soon now) is 100% spam (most of which is caught by SpamAssassin).

40 percent by number or by size ? (5, Interesting)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503098)

According to POPFile [sourceforge.net] only 18% of my email messages are spam, but it's 46% when you take the file sizes into account. The total memory fraction would seem to be a more relevant measurement if you're an ISP concerned about spam's costs.

So, when they say 40%, is that by number of messages or total size?

Sturgeon's Law (5, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503102)

Forty percent? That's nothing. Sturgeon's Law [jargon.net] states that ninety percent of everything is crap.

White list with pass code (5, Informative)

Continental Drift (262986) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503113)

My Eudora filters allow me to auto-reply to mail coming from someone not already in my address book. The auto-reply tells the writer to try again and put a code word in the subject line, which the filters will then bypass. This is very effective, and since I implemented it, I don't see spam. It is a bit of a pain for people writing to me the first time.

Now, a white list like this can be bypassed by a spammer claiming to be a friend of mine. It can't claim to be me, because my filters automatically delete anything sent to my address claiming to come from me. I'm wondering if anyone else who has implemented a white list for themselves has seen any problems with it.

Best Slashdot Story Evar (-1, Troll)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503115)

By a large margin. Please post more like this.

more like 60-70% (4, Interesting)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503118)

i run a small isp's mail server system (~30k accounts) and just our dnsbl blocks about 60% of all incoming e-mail. spamassassin and various other techniques pick out about 5-10% more of the overall.

Blocking spam before it gets to our main mail server has extended the life of our mail server indefinately. The less we have to spend on hardware, the more time and energy we can spend on building quality of service for our customers. That keeps the customers happy, and keeps the business people doubly happy, since they don't lose customers and don't have to buy new hardware every year for a mail system.

Probably accurate (1)

swb (14022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503120)

I use RBLs here and we block about 35% of incoming as Spam. Given I still get a lot of spam anyway, I'm assuming 40% is probably real accurate.

Corroboration (1)

daves (23318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503129)

To those who suspect the messenger, the numbers match my company's experience. The scary part is that spam traffic continues to double every six months.

I think we should be happy for spam (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503137)

it is creating jobs. it is increasing hardware sales.
it is a revenue generating system.

yay spam!

seriously though, I *wish* spam was only 40% of my mail.
I also wish I had a gold plated Bentley.
In fact, I'll take the latter over the former any day.

Not true (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503139)

95% of all email is spam. The rest is my project manager sending out emails about TPS reports.

Several Easy Solutions (3, Funny)

$criptah (467422) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503165)

For every action there is a counter reaction, right? Fight back! You can do it passively by setting up filters (Mozilla does an excellent job in that department) or spam back the spammers. The trick is to find spam that originates from a legid address. Send an email to that address and see if it goes through. Then set up a script on every single computer on your home network (which in my case is several FreeBSD boxes) and mail random crap to spammers (a cron entry works beautifully). Believe it or not I actually got a reply from a person saying that they got the point and removed me from the list. The other guys were persistent. In order to get rid of them (they did have actual usernames in the email address) I had to go to every goddamn gay porn site and subscribe them to free porn and a newsletter. I know, some of you will say that I have a lot of free time on my hands and may be I do. But every person who gets spam does something about it, including calling a senator and pushing for laws, I think we can fight it.

Legitimate Business (1)

E-Tigger (601072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5503170)

I found it interesting that there were comments about `legitimate' business' that feel spam is ruining their message. I have never looked at email not sent to me by people I knew. Email advertising is even less effective in my opinion than flyers that are sent in the mail. Admittedly any percentage that would check out that kind of advertising is put off by spam. I find the difference between unsolicited email from `legitimate' companies compared to scams to be negligible. I didn't ask for either.
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