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People are More Accepting of Spam

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the yuck dept.

Spam 278

twitter writes "Many news organizations are reflecting the opinion of Pew Internet and American Life Project staffer Deborah Fallows that '...email users say they are receiving slightly more spam in their inboxes than before, but they are minding it less.' I think that's an odd conclusion to draw. You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email! To their credit, they point out that CAN-SPAM has done nothing to help." The Reuters blurb about this study has a syopsis of their findings.

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Men worried as pr0n spam drops (3, Funny)

amigoro (761348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198659)

A growing number of men have been unable to go perpendicular despite Hitachi's [hitachigst.com] best efforts due to the decrease in pornographic spam emails as reported by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Read More [mithuro.com]

Re:Men worried as pr0n spam drops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198671)

WTF - that is amazing!

Broadband (4, Insightful)

L0k11 (617726) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198685)

Without even RTFA I'd say it has a lot to do with broadband uptake.

Checking your email via web or pop now takes seconds not minutes for your email to download (as it used to for dialup).

So people are less annoyed (than they used to be) about waiting for 50 messages to download and most of them being spam.

Filtering has got a lot better too, I have not recieved a single spam with my gmail account.

Re:Broadband (3, Interesting)

surferbill (137539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198725)

I also find that increased storage space, especially on webmail accounts, means I'm not so bothered by it. I've had spam to my gmail account (despite never giving out the email address, just using it for testing the interface), but it was all filed correctly in the spam folder.

Re:Broadband (2, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198747)

Filtering has got a lot better too, I have not recieved a single spam with my gmail account.

I've only received one or two. However gmail is completely useless at tagging phishing emails as spam.

I've just removed 6 ebay, 2 paypal and 1 wells fargo that have appeared over the weekend. It would be nice if their spam filter did this automatically for me.

One of the ebay ones managed to get around gmails phishing checks and so the links were still active.

Gmail + Thunderbird Bayesian filters = :-) (5, Informative)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198793)

I have a Gmail account I use for spammy stuff (posting on websites, joining forums (forae?), signing up for mailing lists) and I read it using Thunderbird [mozilla.org] and Gmail POP3 [google.com]

Considering what I use it for, I get astonishingly little spam through the gmail filter, and Thunderbird picks out the rest and moves it to my junk mail folder for periodic review. Twin filtering is the way to go...

Re:Broadband (4, Informative)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198852)

However gmail is completely useless at tagging phishing emails as spam.

From my experience with it, it does do this, and it does it well. It puts a big "This message may not be from who it seems to be from" message at the top of the screen, and doesn't load any images.

Then again, I've only had two eBay phishing spams, and they were both obvious.

Re:Broadband (2, Interesting)

sp3tt (856121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198799)

The problem with filtering of spam is false positives. You can filter spam, but what if you also filter important messages? That's why I have set thunderbird to delete nothing, only move it to the junk folder.

Re:Broadband - RTFA :-) (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198807)

You didn't need to mention that you didn't RTFA, since it wasn't from a legitimate news source. It was a joke.

Unless you were replying to the main article, and not your parent ;-)

Off Topic? did you read the article? (1)

amigoro (761348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198695)

From the TFA:

While 63% of email users now say they have received porn spam, down 8 percentage points from a year ago, 29% of those email users say they are now getting less porn spam, compared to 16% who said they are getting more.

Re:Off Topic? did you read the article? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198728)

I am the one responsible for modding your post as offtopic.

Sorry for posting as AC, but otherwise I will undo my moderations.

The reason I chose offtopic for you was
1. Offtopic link (although amusing, but still offtopic)
2. Non-working link ("You are not authorized to view this source")

Re:Off Topic? did you read the article? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198738)

You can access it if you login.

Desensitized (5, Insightful)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198662)

Spam has been around long enough that the latest demographic group to join the Net have always known spam. To them, it is a natural thing.

Re:Desensitized (5, Insightful)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198681)

It's kind of like growing up in a country without rights.

After a while, the next generation of people are accustomed to it. Because of the lack of outrage, the system stays in place.

It applies here perfectly too. Nothing will be done about spam as long as most of the people out there will put up with it, and some of the people out there even go so far as support it.

Re:Desensitized (4, Interesting)

selderrr (523988) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198748)

this is probably an argument that most slashdotters will dismiss blindly, but I dare say that the quality of spam has changed as well : while we still do get a whole lot of G3T R1CH F4ST crap, there is a marginal increase in 'reasonable' spam for products that do exist and might perhaps be interesting to a small percentage of the population. A bit like dead tree spam : I skip trhough it in a glimpse, but once in a while something interesting catches my attention.

Maybe the percentage the article talks about, is just that small increase in quality ?

Re:Desensitized (3, Informative)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198870)

Although I agree spam has increased in quality over time, I think there is one thing making it not quite so credible - people get loads of it.

I have received a few spams that really do look genuine, "I tried sending this to you before" sort of thing, that could fool quite a few people. However, the trouble is that I get this same spam five or six times a day. People are more likely to respond to a one-day 'offer' spam than when they're being drowned in them.

And if spammers are being paid by the number of spams sent, rather than spams replied to, this shouldn't change soon, thankfully.

spam lets me know my mail is working. (5, Funny)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198812)

seriously, I'm so used to seeing some regularly that if a few hours pass, and I don't get any, (and this is AFTER all my filtering, that's how bad it is) I test mail my server to make sure it's all good.

Re:spam lets me know my mail is working. (3, Insightful)

kyojin the clown (842642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198932)

i have been having loads of problems with this. we recently went from symantec's mail filter (haaaa hahahahaha) to ASSP (its brilliant) and now i am having to stay logged in to hotmail all day, so i can send people test email. they are so used to getting all the spam, now that it has gone away they constantly think the mail server is broken

here is a link for ASSP, if you like it give them money. http://assp.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:Desensitized (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198832)

the latest demographic group to join the Net have always known spam. To them, it is a natural thing.

Exactly. In other news, Windows users are more tolerant of computer crashes. To them, it is a natural thing.

Typical Spammer Stereotype (5, Interesting)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198663)

The article is playing on the stereotype that all spammers live extremely well off their activities, although this may have been true up until recently, and there are still people making huge amounts of money from it - the reason phising and stuff is becoming more common is because the profits from spam are becoming lower.

You can't just pick up a mailing software, buy a list and sit back and watch the money roll in anymore, so the new kids wanting to be millionaires have to result to more devious tactics.

Re:Typical Spammer Stereotype (0)

boingyzain (739759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198724)

If this holds it may begin to show that the profits from spamming are just too risky, and others may not wish to try it. On the other hand, bankruptcy is often just a shield to protect assets. Maybe with a combination of civil and criminal action we will one day see a reduction in spam.

Obviously they don't read Slashdot (5, Funny)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198666)

Given the number of posters who recommended the death penalty for the guy who received 9 years for his contribution to society (spam), I'd say that the persons who participated in this study are not Slashdot readers.

Re:Obviously they don't read Slashdot (2, Funny)

eofpi (743493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198764)

You must've missed yesterday [userfriendly.org] 's User Friendly.

Re:Obviously they don't read Slashdot (1, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198797)

Actually, I had a brief conversation with Illiad about it in the comments.

My commentary [userfriendly.org] on the absurd severity of the sentence caused quite a stir. In light of some of the other comments, this is unsurprising. I had merely intended to comment that 9 years is asinine, but in light of other comments made, one can see why people might think differently.

Just for reference to any delusional /. readers. Spam is definately not comparable to rape or murder. If you doubt this, talk to your self about your frustrations over spam, then talk to a rape victim over their frustrations regarding rape.

Now, go look at the grid linked to the link that I posted, and consider, deep down inside, if 9 years is at all appropriate.

If you do, you can go join all of the other groups trying to hammer their point of view down on the populace by making it law.

Re:Obviously they don't read Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198862)

Spam is definately not comparable to rape or murder.

Is it comparable to growing pot? Damned if you can't get nine years for that too. Which isn't to say this is how it should be, just that you're basing some of your argument on the idea that the US is usually just in giving appropriate sentences to match the severity of the crime.

You mean the same Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198845)

i read?
The one where the e-penis is now how many spam they get?
(well, this might be a bit harsh, but come on. Everytime there is a spam topic, there will be a thread were the usual suspects get off with how much they get... "i get 300 per day!!!11"...

This species can be easily identified by bringing up that its most likely their own fault for using their email unwisely (you know, enter email for free pr0n, ect).
The usual reply will be: "Im SOOOO important that i have to put my email into 153 acticles and on 3 xxmillion hits pages..."

Well, about spam. Shit happens. I never got spam till i once posted my email in a newsgroup post. Sicne then it das been 10 or 20 per day. Before (1995-2003) nearly nothing.

Heh. Riiight. Now get off the high horse. (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198946)

If anything, you just illustrate why spam is a problem.

Let me tell you a story. Back before SPAM, giving your email address to people was _not_ considered some "unwise use" of it. It was the _whole_ idea of email.

E.g., I put my email address in all my newsgroup posts. _Not_ because of being "SOOO important", but because some conversations that ensued were really just between two people. No point spamming the whole newsgroup with stuff that really didn't concern everyone else on that newsgroup.

Especially since it would be often off-topic for that newsgroup anyway. E.g., if I made the ISO standard dumb comparison to a car in a hardware newsgroup, I would fully expect that anyone going on a non-hardware-related car tangent (e.g., "actually, the <car model> doesn't have a diesel option") would do so in email.

If anything "e-penis" would have been the exact opposite: the /. kind of off-topic posts just to show that you know some obscure detail better than the poster. The "woo, I'm better than you because I know better about some irrelevant detail" or "you suck, because you misspelled a word" posts. Taking that kind of thing to email was actually considered the proper thing to do. (Mind you, I'm not saying that everyone stuck to doing the proper thing.)

Or, yes, when I wrote a game walkthrough, I did put both my email addresses in it. Not out of a sense of being "SOOO important", but simply because I _didn't_ consider it to be the alpha and omega of gaming walkthroughs. I figured that there _is_ plenty of stuff I had ommited, so email seemed like a good way to, you know, _communicate_ about that. Let people send me corrections, or ask additional questions.

It may no longer seem that obvious any more, but some of us actually used email to _communicate_ with people. Even strangers. That was the whole idea, in fact. (Family members already knew my telephone number, after all.)

Email was _not_ supposed to be some top secret, jealously kept secret even from idiot acquaintances who might leak it when they get virused. It was, in fact, _supposed_ to be usable for even perfect strangers to contact you, should they need to do that.

And that we've got at the point where all that got turned right on its head, well, you've just illustrated the damage that spam did. What should have been a valuable communication resource, got turned into something top secret and where a message from a stranger would more likely be deleted than read.

hhhmmm... (2, Funny)

irchs (752829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198667)

Appeasement never works. See World War 2.

Jan

Re:hhhmmm... (5, Funny)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198677)

What? You wanna wait till they spam pearl harbour before you do anything about it??

Better filters? (4, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198669)

Perhaps part of the reason is that many e-mail clients have better filtering mechanisms in them now than in previous years. With clients like Apple's Mail and Thunderbird, spam filtering can get quite accurate. I get as much spam as ever (if not more), but I rarely see any of it. The filters appear to do their job quite nicely.

We may not be getting less spam, but the tools to help deal with it have been improving, and are being made available to more and more e-mail users.

Yaz.

Re:Better filters? (1)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198709)

I have to agree, especially when I use internet mail clients such as yahoo and gmail. In my yahoo account, which I purposely use for internet signups, I get tons of spam (thousands a week), but I never see them because they're all filtered, I simply have to hit the "empty" button on my spam folder every week or so. The spam that does slip through is easily filtered with two mouse clicks.

Re:Better filters? (3, Insightful)

Lars Arvestad (5049) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198714)

Yeah, but if actual users are saying the get more spam, it is likely that they see the spam themselves, I would say. So I would guess that people are getting increasingly used to spam. Sad.

Personally, I have no idea about my spam rates since I filter out spam myself in Thunderbird, plus that the organizations I belong to seem to do a good job of keeping some of the spam out using SpamAssasin and other tricks.

Re:Better filters? (2, Insightful)

NicolaiBSD (460297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198768)

Perhaps part of the reason is that many e-mail clients have better filtering mechanisms in them .. Apple's Mail .. Thunderbird

At best that's a very minor part of the reason as only 1 in 100 people use those. We're talking people here, not /.-ers.

Re:Better filters? (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198814)

The filters appear to do their job quite nicely.

Running a combination of dnsBLs, Spam Assassin and blocking known keywords that seem to leak through I do actually read the spams that make it, if only to work out how they got around the filters and into my junk mail folder (funny, they never seem to make it into my inbox). This morning I actually got spam for papal funeral gubbins delivered. Time to update the keywords again.

Re:Better filters?not on exchange (0)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198919)

I have Outlook 2000 on Exchange, so no spam-filters for me. The best I found is a rule which sais everything from yahoo,msm,hotmail directly to trash unless the sender adress is in my adres book. Works perfectly!!!

Spam with trigger words in the pictures (4, Informative)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198670)

I get spam now that have about 2-3 paragraphs of text that are mostly plagurized poetry, then all of the words that trigger spam filters are in the graphics included in the HTML email. It's a smart tactic (albeit annoying). It really throws off the spam filters. Does anyone else get a lot of these? Anyway to filter them out?

They change the bogus names and email addresses, of course, but the ads clearly are coming from the same source.

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (2, Informative)

erikkemperman (252014) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198723)

all of the words that trigger spam filters are in the graphics included in the HTML email

Depends which client you use, I guess. My Thunderbird never downloads images unless I request them manually.

Apart from the problem you describe, this also inhibit "beacon" images to function (you know, embed a single-pixel image from some webserver so you can look at the logs as a kind of spam delivery notification.)

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198746)

I think a good bayesian should work. I don't think I've ever had a problem with it using bogofilter. At worse, the first email gets put into my Unclassified folder, and subsequent email gets correctly classified. And no, no false positives.

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (1)

Darkon (206829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198770)


I think a good bayesian should work

How to you Bayesian filter an image? The whole point of this new breed of spam is that the poetry or whatever makes the spam appear 'normal', and all the trigger words that would otherwise score highly in a Bayesian filter are inside the image.

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (2, Informative)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198798)

The filter works with the fact that there is an image, not with what is the image itself. If it is an external image, then the URL is fed to the filter. Bayesian filters can do a whole lot of preprossesing before doing the actual weighting. Second thing is that unless you get a lot of poetry in your regular emails, then you should be able to teach your filter to recognise this spam.

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198921)

Yes, I get about 10 spams a day like that. I use Mozilla Mail (part of Mozilla Internet Suite). To make them less annoying, I do this:

1) If the sender is not in my Personal Address Book and the subject does not contain the word "Knoppix", mark the message as Junk and move to the Junk folder.

2) Read all mail as plain text (View menu -> Message Body As -> Plain Text).

This means that I whitelist mail that is either from people I know or about Knoppix. When reviewing the rest I never see any pictures embedded in HTML formatted mail. Sometimes I have to rescue legitimate mail from people I don't know from the Junk folder. However, that is a price I am willing to pay.

Re:Spam with trigger words in the pictures (2, Informative)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198939)

Blacklisting certain top-level domains does it quite well...

'but they are minding it less.' (4, Insightful)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198673)

but they are minding it less.'

I don't find this very strange. People adapt, and their expectations change.

Most people learn to spot spam at a glance, so even though total amount may have increased even those without spamfilters probably use less and less time deleting it. That doesn't mean we accept it more though, it just mean we aren't as bothered by it as we used to.

this is kind of interesting (-1, Offtopic)

purple dog cock (869530) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198854)

While serving my sentence at a former institution, I was severely beaten and gang raped, both orally and anally, by six black inmates . . . . It started by inmate [A] coming by my cell and waking me up at approximately 4:00 a.m. He said he wanted to come in and watch television with me. I said, "No, I'm trying to sleep." He said he's going to the booth and get my door open. I saw him go to the booth and told the booth officer to open my cell door . . . My cell door was not authorized to be opened. By this time, I had turned on my overhead light and heard inmate [A] say to [the officer], "Open #222, so I can get his laundry." I didn't think nothing of it because we've had no prior problems before. I did think it was odd though. So he came in and sat on my bed . . . . About 5 to 10 minutes after that, inmate [B], [C], and [D] came into my cell. Then inmate [D] said, "We want some ass." I said, "I don't think so, I don't play that shit." When he said this, I said to myself, "Oh no! I'm in trouble!" I looked toward the door for an escape route finding it blocked, I went into myself to prepare for the worst. Inmate [D] then said, "Either give it to Jesus or give it up." . . . . It was at this time that the floor officer came by on the bottom tier (I was on the top tier), doing or supposedly doing, his rounds. He noticed the inmates in my cell and asked if everything was all right. Too terrified to answer, I just nodded. [The officer] never came to the top tier during his round. I was then directed back to my bed. Inmate [B] then stood in front of me and pulled out his penis and forced it into my mouth. Inmate [C] then turn his turn. Pulling me to my feet, he then took my boxers off, bent me over and forced his penis inside. Inmate [D] laid on the bed, took my head and forced himself inside my mouth [All four of them, plus one more] took turns anally and orally raping me at the same time. All of them repeatedly did this. Somewhere in the middle of this, inmate [F] entered . . . . [D]uring the rape, I believe it was him that said "suck this dick you white bitch.". . . . [One said:] "If you snitch on us, we'll kill you!!" The other said, "And if you do and you get transferred, you'll still die." At that time, I really believed them, and I still think this today.

People get educated and axquire tools (2, Insightful)

phooka.de (302970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198675)

The conclusion should be simple: People get used to it. They learn how to hdeal with it. They deploy SPAM-filters and don't get to see the SPAM anymore.

And so the problem dissolves.

Personally, I get 150 Spam per day. 1 or 2 of them appear in my inbox and are quickly deleted. SPAM isn't much of an issue for me.

one possible cause (5, Interesting)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198679)

One of the causes of this behavior could be that there are a lot of people who started using email not too long ago.
Therefore, spam was there when they started emailing, and they don't complain about it because it is no change.

A simile here would be people who always lived near an airport tend to complain less about the airport than the people who just moved to that region. Thus, a change in the behavior of a user environment is more likely to be a cause for complaints than something that has always been there.
We do not complain about the high death toll caused by traffic anymore, do we? they did in the past!

B.

another cause (-1, Offtopic)

purple dog cock (869530) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198857)

While serving my sentence at a former institution, I was severely beaten and gang raped, both orally and anally, by six black inmates . . . . It started by innmate [A] coming by my cell and waking me up at approximately 4:00 a.m. He said he wanted to come in and watch television with me. I said, "No, I'm trying to sleep." He said he's going to the booth and get my door open. I saw him go to the booth and told the booth officer to open my cell door . . . My cell door was not authorized to be opened. By this time, I had turned on my overhead light and heard inmate [A] say to [the officer], "Open #222, so I can get his laundry." I didn't think nothing of it because we've had no prior problems before. I did think it was odd though. So he came in and sat on my bed . . . . About 5 to 10 minutes after that, inmate [B], [C], and [D] came into my cell. Then inmate [D] said, "We want some ass." I said, "I don't think so, I don't play that shit." When he said this, I said to myself, "Oh no! I'm in trouble!" I looked toward the door for an escape route finding it blocked, I went into myself to prepare for the worst. Inmate [D] then said, "Either give it to Jesus or give it up." . . . . It was at this time that the floor officer came by on the bottom tier (I was on the top tier), doing or supposedly doing, his rounds. He noticed the inmates in my cell and asked if everything was all right. Too terrified to answer, I just nodded. [The officer] never came to the top tier during his round. I was then directed back to my bed. Inmate [B] then stood in front of me and pulled out his penis and forced it into my mouth. Inmate [C] then turn his turn. Pulling me to my feet, he then took my boxers off, bent me over and forced his penis inside. Inmate [D] laid on the bed, took my head and forced himself inside my mouth [All four of them, plus one more] took turns anally and orally raping me at the same time. All of them repeatedly did this. Somewhere in the middle of this, inmate [F] entered . . . . [D]uring the rape, I believe it was him that said "suck this dick you white bitch.". . . . [One said:] "If you snitch on us, we'll kill you!!" The other said, "And if you do and you get transferred, you'll still die." At that time, I really believed them, and I still think this today.

I met a spam customer once (2, Interesting)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198680)

She had some cheerful business cards. Turns out she'd gotten them "free" from a web site she heard about in an email. Of course, the shipping for the 250 "free" cards cost about $7, so she ended up paying about what should would have if she'd gone to a reputable business card maker. My wife and I looked at each other sadly and decided it wasn't likely to be worth trying to educate her...

Re:I met a spam customer once (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198925)

And I bet that she utilizes a lot of really cute cursors too.

Re:I met a spam customer once (1)

isotpist (857411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198926)

Do you post this comment to every spam story on /.? or do a lot of people know this cheerful woman with her business cards.

Maybe we deserve dupe posts since so many articles are dupes.

of course I mind less, 4 a reason (4, Informative)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198683)

they are receiving slightly more spam in their inboxes than before, but they are minding it less.

Of course I mind less, but I do because a good reason: the server I pop my mail from uses paid-for spam filtering (nothing revolutionary, but quite good), then my Thunderbird also squeezes them quite a bit. What I get at the end is below my getting-angry-about-it threshold. But, I have to tell that overall I get quite more spam than let's say this time last year. The reason I don't mind is that the number of spam I get after double filtering is _not_ higher than before.

Re:of course I mind less, 4 a reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198850)

The mail is still hitting your providers server, increasing costs for them and prices for you; you're paying for the spammers infrastructure! Filtering is no magic bullet, you should be asking why people are getting away with depositing turds in your mailbox to begin with. Be angry, very angry.

Re:of course I mind less, 4 a reason (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198918)

you should be asking why people are getting away with depositing turds in your mailbox to begin with. Be angry, very angry

I can't, I mean I could, I was, I sometimes still am, but if there exist tools that stop the trash it before reaches me, then I'm ok. I don't have the time and and don't feel the sudden urge to start complaining to anyone regarding amounts of spam. I also don't have the time to participate in good filter development. What people can do at their level is to somewhat effectively stop the tide before it hits the front door, which I always managed to achieve for years now.

Since bigger players can't find a working solution to this problem for years now, I only can do this much and protect myself.

But I always tell when I have the opportunity that the solution to this shouldn't _just_ happen at infrastructural level (i.e. e.g. protocol) but also on a large scale at social level: make the spamming activity not worthy somehow.

Re:of course I mind less, 4 a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198930)

+1 for making a good point, -1 for using "pop" as a verb for getting your mail.

Re:of course I mind less, 4 a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198945)

The reason I don't mind is that the number of spam I get after double filtering is _not_ higher than before.

Is the number of false-positives?

People are getting used to it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198688)

It's not always obvious, but people can get used to just about anything. One day, except for some old curmudgeons, most people won't think twice about using a Bayesian algorithm to fish one or two relevant messages out of a sea of millions of spam messages. That is, if the present trends continue unabated...

Buying from spam okay, buying online not okay (3, Insightful)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198690)

It's pretty messed up. I remember the days when everyone was worried about this whole "online purchasing" thing. Everyone thought that it was just some sham to take peoples credit card numbers. Now people will buy products from companies that advertise in a sketchy manner and don't even spell things correctly? It's definitely a bit frightening.

Re:Buying from spam okay, buying online not okay (2, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198752)

I guess that's because the net population has diluted in terms of technical know-how.

And given that people are generally happy with services like Amazon, eBay and PayPal, they see no reason why services like Amaz0n, eBäy and PayPa1 should be any different.

Didn't you post the exact same thing (2, Insightful)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198897)

the last time there was an article on spam?

If not, my Dejavu-ometer need recalibrating.

I actually don't get spam. (0, Troll)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198693)

I never sign up for stupid marketing things. Life is good.

Re:I actually don't get spam. (2, Interesting)

Malenfrant (781088) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198834)

I agree. I get maybe one or two spam mails a year. I'm not sure what I do that others don't, I just use common sense, and if I have to give out my email to someone I don't trust, I'll set up a temporary free one, use it once, and then forget about it

Re:I actually don't get spam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198880)

You have never owned a domain name have you?
The only spam I get is from the arses that decide that if it is in the whois database then I have opted-in, it has forced me to make a 2nd email address just for whois that i only check every 2 months or so.
Somewhat depressing to think that the whois database is being used this way as often the result is that emails sent to hostmasters often bounce.

Differing interpretation (5, Insightful)

Overcoat (522810) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198697)

From the Reuters article:
Fifty-three percent of adult e-mail users in the United States now say they trust e-mail less because of spam, down from 62 percent a year ago and about the same as a June 2003 Pew survey.
Note the reference to "e-mail users". Thus the decline in e-mail users who say they trust e-mail less because of spam may be the result of people getting fed up with spam and ceasing to use e-mail.

Re:Differing interpretation (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198923)

Or it could be due to an increase in the total number of users thus driving the number down by watering down the particular group, much as one can drive the proof of a mixture of alcohol down by including things that aren't alcohol.

I was going to use a reference to Sperm-Competition Theory, but I figured no /.ers would understand that.

err... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198698)

"You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email! "

Read that careful. Since when have /. editors put up stories with the most butchered grammar in the entire universe?

Yeah, label me as a troll if you want, I don't care.

Tips for fighting spam (0, Redundant)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198700)

I'll post my usual public service announcements here:

SpamCop [spamcop.net] is a great service for reporting spam; just paste the spam message into the web form, and it'll automatically figure out where the smap came from and send complaints off to the appropriate people.

The Spam Bouncer [spambouncer.org] is a procmail-based personal spam screening tool. It's got some interesting features, but I haven't used it in a long while.

The way I avoid spam is to have my mail client screen out any email which contains any of these phrases:

to be removed
to be permanently removed
to get removed
to get off the list
to get off this list
to be taken off
to remove yourself
removal instructions
remove in subject line
"remove" in subject line
remove in the subject
"remove" in the subject
'remove' in the subject
S.1618
S. 1618


This list by itself catches about 80% of the spam I get. Also, for the foreign spam... Apply this rule after the message arrives
with
Ô or ¾ or Ç or or É or ½ or Í or ò or Ë or ® or Ä or ã or Ï or Ö or Ô in the subject or body
delete it
and stop processing more rules.

This blocks 99% of foreign spam [spamhaus.org] . Sue Mosher wrote about other effective methods [slipstick.com] for killing spam in Outlook.

X-YahooFilteredBulk (4, Informative)

redswinglinestapler (841060) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198708)

I noticed that a lot of spam coming through my Yahoo account had been tagged with the header "X-YahooFilteredBulk". I added this to my Exim system filter and I've gone from 20+ spams a day in my inbox to 2 in a week. Thank you Yahoo!

Unfortunately, a lot anti-spam measures (including Exim 3's system filters) only take place after a message has been accepted for delivery. For me, this results in a lot of bounce messages frozen in the queue as they cannot be returned (Hotmail mailbox full, etc). I've switched on features like verifying the sender and the headers, but this doesn't catch them all, and in some cases might even stop some legitimate spam (one of my mailing lists uses incorrect syntax for the "RCPT TO:").

More effective anti-spam systems need to filter before the message has been accepted. If you wait until then, it is already too late and it is on your system. No, refusing accept delivery is much effective IMHO, and forces the MTA's further up the chain to deal with it. They shouldn't have accepted it in the first place! When you get spam, return 550 (or whatever the code is) and let the SMTP client deal with it. In an ideal world, ever provider (ISP, or free service like Yahoo) will implement stricter MTA's. If the spam rejection can be pushed far enough up the chain, life for everyone will easier.

BTW, according to Philip Hazel (a message I recieved to a question I posed on the Exim mailing list), Exim 4 will offer much more functionality along these lines, including the invocation of C funtions after the DATA phase of the SMTP input. I guess this would be the spot to plug in Vipul's Razor, although I don't know what kind performance hit that would lead to. Mr. Hazel also pointed out that some stupid clients are in contravention of the RFC and will continue to try and delivery a message if they recieved 5xx after the DATA phase... oh well: they'll be using my bandwidth but they won't be putting any crap on my server.

Re:X-YahooFilteredBulk (1)

alex_ware (783764) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198822)

do you want a gmail account, it never fills up

Re:X-YahooFilteredBulk (1)

Some Bitch (645438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198883)

I run a small server for my own webhosting/mail and that of a few friends. I use Exim4 as the MTA and route everything through Spamassassin/ClamAV after the DATA phase. Anything with a spam score above 15 is rejected, likewise anything ClamAV picks up. According to the little script I wrote to analyse my mail logs (output below) about 30% of my spam is being rejected at the SMTP level instead of me having to download it (I only set this up about 3 weeks ago though so it's still experimental).
Mail statistics for persephone
Total number of messages accepted: 6109

Spam statistics
Number of spam messages: 512 (8.38%)
Average score of spam messages: 21.46
Highest recorded spam score: 48
Number of ham messages: 5597 (91.62%)
Average score of ham messages: -2.09
Average processing time: 6.72
Number of mails rejected at SMTP layer: 205
Invalid recipient: 20
Virus infected: 14
Protocol violation: 5
Dangerous attachment: 6
Serious MIME defect: 5
Spam score > 15: 154
Other: 1
Viruses detected
HTML.Phishing.Bank-1: 9
HTML.Phishing.Auction-27: 1
HTML.Phishing.Auction-47: 1
HTML.Phishing.Bank-107: 1
Exploit.ObjCodebase.Calc: 2
I am on a few high volume mailing lists, hence the low amount of spam for the ham.

I'm thankful for spam (5, Funny)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198716)

Honestly, I'm quite thankful for spam, for two reasons:

I'll never be shy in the locker room again, and the ladies love me!

Now, if only I could shut that lady who keeps saying mean things about my dikky up, I'd be fine. Personally, I have no idea what her standards are.

Re:I'm thankful for spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198803)

LOL HY


--DIKKY HEARTIEZ

Re:I'm thankful for spam (2, Funny)

StuffJustHappens (869989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198819)

Glad you are no longer shy in the locker room. A word of caution though - if you now have a large dikky, take care when slamming your locker door.

Re:I'm thankful for spam (2, Funny)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198916)

Now, all we need are pills to make you stop calling it your 'dikky'.

tolerance (3, Interesting)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198722)

I guess I now have two groups of people I don't like.

First, it was just the people who responded to spam, making it profitable to spamers.

Now I guess I really don't like people who have grown tolerent of it.

When I first got an Internet email address in 1992, it took me all of 2 unsolicted emails in my inbox before I started hating spam, and I still hate it.

The only good news out of this study is that people don't trust email. That's good. If you didn't ask for a company to send you an email, I mean, if you didn't explicitly ask them (sorry, clicking 'I agree' to an EULA that has a 'we will send you spam' statement buried deep inside does not mean you want to get it), the company that sends it to you is unethical and you shouldn't do business with it.

Period.

Spam pisses me off. It should piss other people off too.

Re:tolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198755)

+1, Groupthink

Re:tolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198795)

It worked for the Presidential election, why not for Slashdot?

Re:tolerance (1)

sp3tt (856121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198842)

Your sig fits very, very well with the comment :)
People are stupid. They get 50 spam mails, say "Well, that's not good, but what can I do about it?." It's the same problem Linux (or any Firefok, or Thunderbird or whatever) has: people accept the state, because they do not know about any alternatives. "Oh look, Windows crashed again," someone says, and maybe continues: "I wish there were some better o/s."
What we have to do is to educate people, teach them not to click "yes" to everything they see, and to filter as much spam as possible. When spammers (and phisers) stop getting money, maybe they will stop. Probably won't happen, but we can always dream.

Re:tolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198974)

If you didn't ask for a company to send you an email, I mean, if you didn't explicitly ask them (sorry, clicking 'I agree' to an EULA that has a 'we will send you spam' statement buried deep inside does not mean you want to get it), the company that sends it to you is unethical and you shouldn't do business with it.

I keep getting spam trying to sell ScibeStudio from Distance Learning Inc. The thing is, it's addressed to an email address I only use on Usenet, and I don't post to any newsgroup remotely associated with their line of business. They either:

  • scraped unrelated newsgroups,
  • bought a list from a spammer that did so, or
  • don't run a double-opt-in system.

I complained, and was told "give us your email address and we'll take you off the system". There are two problems with this.

Firstly, confirming my email address to known spammers? I won't do that. Even if they don't sell on my email address as confirmed, spammers have been known to send viruses and mailbomb people who attempt to get off their lists.

More importantly, though, it doesn't help all the other people on their list that are also being spammed. I tried to explain to them that their list was irrevokably tainted with people who didn't want to be on there, but there were absolutely unwilling to do anything about it. They just kept repeating "give us your email address and we'll take you off".

The last lot of spam I got from them, they were forging headers to get past my filters. Distance Learning Inc. are spamming arseholes. This includes Manuela Rath, Stephen Cervieri, and Ingrid Simmons. Do not buy ScribeStudio or anything else from Distance Learning Inc.

If only the physical spam would stop. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198737)

I'm still far more bothered by the paper that clogs my mailboxes.

Email's don't bother me, because they're quite easy to filter & delete. The tree-killing paper stuffed in my mailboxes each day is far more of an inconvenience.

Re:If only the physical spam would stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198970)

Paper is recycleable. Please recycle.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198741)

SPAM is More Accepting of YOU!

One word: Filters (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198754)

2 years ago 3 or 4 spams a day were very annoying. You had to delete them, and to delete them you had to click on them, and that would show nasty stuff in the preview window, ect...

But nowaday? The spams pop up for a second in the incoming folder of thunderbird and promptly dissapear to where they belong to after that. The felt exposure of spam is less than ever. The only thing is that its 200 or 300K traffic per day, but thats less than some flash adds have, neglectable.

People are More Accepting of Spam... (-1, Troll)

vistic (556838) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198767)

...than raping helpless old women and feeding her a stew of her grandchildren.

Statistics are misleading (3, Insightful)

Durzel (137902) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198790)

It could just be that more and more people have resigned themselves to the fact that spam is here to stay. Whether you could (or should) attribute that to the spam having diminished impact on these people is questionable.

I get so much spam nowadays (which is thankfully filtered by SpamAssassin) that I no longer have time to sift through my spam folders looking for potential false positives, so using this articles logic you could argue I was more "accepting" of it, when really I have just resigned myself to forever receiving spam.

They are right about one thing though - CAN-SPAM has proven to be virtually useless.

Spam has destroyed the medium (4, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198817)

and the medium is no longer the message.

5 years ago if I sent an email to someone, I was virtually assured they got it. Now, I am forced to follow up almost *EVERY* email I get with a "Got it, thanks" or a if I dont hear from someone in a few days -- a phone call. Not a big deal, but not exactly the modern marvel of technology we were looking for?

I've heard about VOIP spam becoming the next big thing -- I really weep for the future. What am I going to follow up PHONE calls with? Certified Letters?

Re:Spam has destroyed the medium (2)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198924)

What can a lone geek do?

Vigilantie justice, my friend. Start to get outraged, get other people outraged, and make the spammers pay.

Of course, that may be illegal, but I can't think of anything within the law to fight back, honestly.

i don't care about spam but others do (2, Insightful)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198821)

For instance some people at my workplace have terrible difficulty finding out which emails require immediate attention and which are garbage (not even spam).
They are slow in recognizing spam, and some get so overwhelmed with the amount of crap in their inboxes (which for some users only means 20 or 30% of their emails are spam) that they want to abandon email all together.
Of course somebody could put a better filter in place on the server and/or clients, but some people just can't handle email much yet. (it's the same people who you see opening windows explorer and stare at the screen for 2 minutes trying to figure out where their files are again, or those who double click links on internet pages because to open things you need to double click, right?)

The survey could be misleading... (5, Insightful)

Eyeball97 (816684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198824)

Given that the survey was carried out by telephone, doesn't it stand to reason that someone who accepts an unsolicited call from a canvasser/surveyor/telemarketer would also be less inclined to be bothered by spam?

I don't mind because Thunderbird is excellent... (1, Informative)

master_p (608214) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198878)

...in catching spam, orders of magnitude better than Outlook. It has 99.9% accuracy. The only time I need to click on an e-mail to de-characterise it as junk is when I received one from someone I knew but I had not received e-mail for quite a long time...but then I never needed to do anything else.

And this is not a troll against commercial software, just my experience. It may be the simple reason that people don't mind spam: the spam-catching software has greatly improved.

Re:I don't mind because Thunderbird is excellent.. (2, Informative)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198886)

Thunderbird is utterly ineffective against the foreign junk I keep getting.

In other news... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198889)

You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email!

I would expect the number of people understanding this statement less because of mangled syntax to decrease to zero quickly when 75% of the Slashdot population say they favor stricter editing standards.

Silly be not.

Answer is easy... (3, Insightful)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198893)

People are getting numb to spam like they're numb to postal junk mail.

All in the wording... (3, Insightful)

Beolach (518512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198908)

Personally, I'd say I'm more "resigned to" spam, than "accepting of" spam. I'd be willing to bet a lot of people feel the same way.

Spam, Commercials, tele-marketers (1)

MrRee (120132) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198920)

Spam is a part of internet life as is commercials on television and telemarketers on the telephone.

Difference--I can pay for premium cable channels and have commercial free viewing. I can put my name on the "no call" list (and yes it works) and not be bothered by telemarketers. But there is no escape from spam. It eats the bandwidth I pay to use. It consumes the space I pay to have. It's a pox on the face of the Internet.

"Haven't you got anything without spam?"
"Well, there is spam spam spam spam green eggs and spam--that doesn't have much spam in it."

Maybe it's time for something completely different.

Could it be that spam filter are just better... (1)

lucason (795664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198933)

Better than they used to be that is. I don't get irritating spam anymore.

Using my gmail a rarely get any spam anymore.
I'm justwondering how many spam email needs to be deleted before read until spammer just give up and go back to stuffing snail-mail-boxes.

Whitelisting (1)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198938)

I think it's Earthlink that has a system that let's a user reject all mail that comes from unknown addresses and returns a mail to the sender that explains the email didn't reach the addressed person. You can then request to be whitelisted by clicking a link in the returned email, and the user will get a please add me request.

I find that a pretty good way for personal email accounts.

Re:Whitelisting (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198984)

Except the mail "FROM" address was forged and all you're doing is ANNOYING THE FUCK OUT OF OTHERS.

I get dozens upon dozens of "returned mail" in my yahoo.com account because people like that. I've contacted a few back and they're like "I didn't know you could forge an address..."

The best thing todo with spam is ignore it... COMPLETELY. Don't reply, don't return it and don't buy from it....

If you're paying for email access and still getting spam [on a high volume scale] then your ISP is simply ... NOT DOING THEIR JOBs. If all they were was a bandwidth provider that'd be different but when they sell you email access as well... they should take it upon themselves to actually make the service useful.

Tom

You Fail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12198940)

Gmail takes care of mine now (2, Interesting)

tcoady (22541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198957)

I used to forward my catchall domain to an IMAP I read using Mail.App that consistently misdiagnosed stuff, but I did not really see the volume till I switched the forwarding to Gmail last night and this morning found it had caught all 170 spams sent overnight.

Even though it has caught a few falsely, I find it easier to check this in Gmail for some reason.

My amount of SPAM has decreased (1)

MarkoNo5 (139955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12198980)

Our department recently started using SPF, SID and grey-listing. The amount of SPAM I received went down from 40-50 mails a day to 4-5 a day, which are all dealt with by thunderbird.

I got rid of Nintendo advertisement spam by reporting it to Nintendo saying it damages their reputation. The 300 pound gorilla did not seem to like that practice :-) Within a day, that spam stopped coming in.
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