Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Spam is Dead

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the my-inbox-tells-a-different-tale dept.

Spam 485

Vainglorious Coward writes "Two years on from Bill Gates' promise to eradicate spam, an article in The Observer claims that spam has passed its peak and is now declining. Is it just me that hasn't noticed this?" I got almost a third more spam in 05 than 04. I guess I exist outside the bell curve on this one.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh Please (5, Interesting)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459118)

As soon as 2006 hit, my gmail account started getting spam. I have gotten 7 today alone. Argh.

Re:Oh Please (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459228)

Only 7? I get an average of 32 a day! Most for enlargment pills, but in the history of my GMail account, I have gotten at most 5 or 6 spam messages in my inbox, and that's since late 2004, and most of my spam is from the forwarded mail from my ISP.

Re:Oh Please (3, Interesting)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459335)

But considering that I only use this e-mail account for family, its quite amazing. I have another account for online purchases and other online stuff. I used to have an account that I quit using because of hundreds a day. I left it be for about 6 months and I had over 55,000 unread messages when I closed it. Good 'ol yahoo mail.

Re:Oh Please (-1, Flamebait)

jftitan (736933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459381)

Since we are playing this game, my gmail account gets on average 130+ a day.
I even got a PhD through one of my spam emails. (I had the money to blow, and it was for a good R&D turn in job) (now the PhD is absolutely bogus because the paper it came on was regular wine white, and the seal that shittly done, also my PhD was only a month after I got an associates.)

Beat ThaT!

yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459119)

first post (I hope)

Good luck on that one bill

Centralized Email (4, Interesting)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459120)

The problem with the micropayment- or trusted-sender-model seems to be: What stops someone from setting up pop3 cum sendmail and ignoring the illicit contract?

Gates and co. would have to have an effective monopoly on email traffic for that to work. (Which might have been conceivable before the advent of Gmail, by the way.)

Re:Centralized Email (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459166)

Gates and co. would have to have an effective monopoly on email traffic for that to work.

Boy, I bet they never thought of that.


Re:Centralized Email (2, Interesting)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459338)

My understanding is that if it someone were to attempt this, they would have to somehow pay the account of the *receiving* program, not the sending program. So, for a person at Hotmail to receive your email, you must pay ten cents. That would be the only logical way to run this kind of system.

Maybe not declining, but simply changing (3, Interesting)

chriss (26574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459122)

My spam peaked early 2004 with about 30,000 mails per stuffing not only my inbox, but also my DSL connection. I had a "catch all" option on several dozen domains and most of the spam I received was addressed to non existing mail boxes. Due to my local spam filters very efficient handling of the problem I only started to worry about the situation when downloading all the spam started to take hours and my provider complained about the daily traffic.

The problem with the non existent mail addresses became a large one sometimes in 2003, when enough people had some kind of spam filtering that deflected most of the usual spam. I guess that sometime in 2004 even the last catch all rules have been disabled, so that today simply guessing email addresses will gain nothing for the spammer.

So maybe spam has not really peaked, but there are simply different waves of spam techniques. Some of them rely on mass, others on tricking the filters. We may simply be in a "smart spam phase". A lot of the spam that reaches me today shows the message as a picture instead of text and I have not yet figured out why thunderbird will display those pictures, since I disabled this.

But the article is right in spam becoming something like a background noise. I still have to manually mark about 100 mails per day as spam, but I got very fast in recognizing it and it only takes a few seconds. I'm always astonished if I meet friends whose email address have not been public for more than a decade and who are very annoyed if one or to mails per week pass their spam filter. To me it is like complaining about banner ads. It's just an unavoidable part of the internet ecosystem, like mosquitos.


-- [] - brush up your German, French, Spanish or Italian - online and free

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459162)

As long as we're on the subject of spamming, would you mind putting your little link in the sig, where it belongs, instead of trying to defeat those of us who turn them off?

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (0, Offtopic)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459211)

Offtopic, I know, I know. But I have to agree. I'm AMAZED at the number of people the take the time to type out a signature in the body of the message just so I can see it. I've started FOE'ing for this, it just irritates me to no end. Chriss, I'm sure you're a nice person, and your comment seems well written; but now you know why I'm a "freak".

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459333)

> I've started FOE'ing for this, it just irritates me to no end. Chriss, I'm sure
> you're a nice person, and your comment seems well written; but now you know why
> I'm a "freak".

Who gives a fuck what you think of him? Even he doesn't, for christ's sake! Jesus, get a fucking life, you jumped up little prick.

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459178)

Put your signature in your signature file, instead of appending it to the end of your message. That way, you don't have to type it every single freaking time...that's the whole point of a .sig file in the fucking first place, genius! It also lets me filter them out. You've already got the damn thing in your URL. Nobody gives a shit about European languages, anyway. They'll all be speaking Arabic in a generation or two.

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (3, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459253)

To me it is like complaining about banner ads. It's just an unavoidable part of the internet ecosystem, like mosquitos.

You know, I don't know about you, but I tend to bring repellant when I go into the jungles we call the internet.

Ad Block []

Almost 100% effect and is 100% lethal to banner ads.

Annoyances don't have to be. Well.. If you don't mind the DDT.

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459294)

I vote with my eyes. IGN has lost me as a reader, and other websites will as well if they go to IGN's lengths at advertising. If anyone annoys me with their ads, I leave. I don't block their ads, I simply don't read their website any more. If more people did this, there wouldn't be a need for ad blockers, as intrusive and annoying ads would be down at a minimum.

Re:Maybe not declining, but simply changing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459372)

If everyone used ad blockers, then no one would be loading the ads any more, and they'd stop using them.

Of course, it would also deprive sites of ad revenue, meaning a lot of sites would simply die, and then where would you find porn?

Insert... (1)

bod1988 (925911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459124)

millions of anti MS remarks here.

Words Matter (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459126)

When you're talking about news sources, an "article" is something substantively different from an "opinion" piece. Articles are (ostensibly) researched and based in demonstrable fact, whereas an opinion piece is just that--opinion, nothing more or less.

As it stands, this is simply an opinion piece, and is labeled as such on the Observer's website. Apart from a loose reference to remembered statistics on the website of a company that sells spam-filtering software, there's nothing in the way of solid evidence to support this guy's claims. What's more, he asserts that things like phishing mails and penny stock solicitations somehow fall outside the realm of "spam". He further goes on to claim that the "new wave" of spam won't actually last, because things like penny-stock spam "rely on credulousness"; he basically asserts that common sense will prevail against the "new" spam where it failed previously. I seriously doubt that the same caliber of individual who falls for the Nigerian e-mail scam will somehow be immune to the siren call of the "penny stock" scam--which, incidentally, has been around for years.

While the author has some valid points, I think he's drawing conclusions on bad assumptions and gut reactions, not hard data.

Mea culpa (2, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459195)

You're totally right, I should have written "piece", not "article".

/me lashes self

Re:Words Matter (2, Insightful)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459257)

I wonder, too, if most spammers actually manage to turn a profit out of their stuff. I've heard many people say, "well some people must send money to the spammers, or they would give up", but I'm not so sure.

Small-time white-collar crooks like spammers tend not to be too bright, and are always trying harebrained schemes to get rich quick. I think it's perfectly possible that most spammers spam just because everyone else is doing it, and they wrongly believe it's an easy scheme to make money.

spam is dead, long live spam (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459327)

fighting spam, much like "the war on terror" or "the war on drugs" or fighting pedophilia, is mostly a policing activity. that is, it never ends, nor will it ever end, nor should you think it will ever end, if you really understand the nature of the problem

spam/ drugs/ terror/ pedophilia/ etc. will always require personnel and effort to prevent, forever. it's just a cost of civilization. for to not fight these things allows them to proliferate and spread. it's a maintenance issue, just like taking out the trash to the curb every thursday. it's not like you take the trash out one day, and you never have to take it out again. no, trash constantly accumulates, and it always will. if you think terror, or hard drug use (really only hard highly addictive drugs are a problem), or spam, or pedophilia, or other problems like these, is something you can oppose or (even worse) accept, and the problems just go away, you simply don't understand what these problems are really like

every generation, there will be some group of idiots who think bombing the feberal building in oklahoma city or flying airplanes into office towers is a wise move. likewise, every generation some group of a**holes will see smuggling heroin and cocaine as a good business move (it is, but its the social byproducts of the business itself that is the problem). and, every generation, someone will think "hey, i can just send out a million emails." nothing you will ever do will stop such people from constantly being reborn anew in every generation, forever

these thinks, just like spam, must always be fought, for all time. yes, you can change protocols, but there is no technological fix to human ingeniousness and cravenness: someone will always try to game the system for their benefit, despite all of the suffering it creates for the rest of us. a lot of slashdot types would be thinking "technological fix!" "technological fix!" there is no technological fix to ingenious asocial behavior. a bored teenager is always smarter than your protocol, and always more craven then the good intention of those who create the protocols. it's the tragedy of the commons. so those who see email spam going away with a technological fix are missing the larger point: you don't destroy the behavior, you just move it around: IM spam, blog spam, etc

true wisdom on the issue of spam and other social ills like it are ones of acceptance of the problem, and constant vigilance of the problem, at the same time. it's not like you can accept the behavior as OK, and its not like you can fight it and kill it once and for all. what is needed is more people understanding the true nature of social ills like spam/ terror/ hard drugs/ etc and understanding that, by their nature, they are mundane criminal policing issues like burglary and vandalism: always with us, but always unacceptable, all at the same time

this is wisdom on these issues. beware anyone who says you can accept these things, and the problems go away, or people who say you can fight these things, and kill them once and for all. such people don't know what they are talking about

Someone Forgot To Tell The Spammers (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459132)

In the past 72 hours I've got over 300 spam which got past my ISP's spam filters. 98 yesterday alone. When I clean out the spam trap for my mail account it still has thousands piled up in there I need to erase.

Nostadamii these people ain't. A little logic may explain the diminishing amount of spam by their measure, such as changing behaviour on the internet. I find much of it is directly linked to postings on USENET groups, some of which have seen floods of cross-posting trolls. Some newsgroups seem to be dying out, others are flourishing. I expect the spam is quite targeted, as some is obviously tied to the newsgroups I've posted on.

virii, virii, virii! muah ha ha ha haaaa!

Re:Someone Forgot To Tell The Spammers (2, Informative)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459163)

Usenet is such an old and well-standardised technology that all the address harvesting programs have support for it. You are opening yourself up to massive spam if you make so much as a single post there. It's not really representative of the state of most of the Internet.

Re:Someone Forgot To Tell The Spammers (3, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459357)

> You are opening yourself up to massive spam if you make so much as a single post
> there

I post to Usenet all the time, using an unobfuscated email address and I don't get any spam, so either what you're saying is no longer true, or gmail's spam protection kicks ass!

Spam is dead for me. (3, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459135)

I've had an e-mail address for over 15 years. My spam in the past 2 months is less than I had 10 years ago.

I post my main address unobfuscated on /. and 25 other public forums. My signal to noise ratio is 100:1. In 5 days I received about 200 real e-mails and 3 spam.

I gave up hosting my own e-mail late last year. I moved all my employees and family to gmail. I'm saving $4000 annually in labor and maybe $4000 in hardware, software and bandwidth.

With giving up my corporate domain name address I'm giving up headaches and spam.

Try it, you'll love it.

Re:Spam is dead for me. (4, Insightful)

captain_craptacular (580116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459205)

I did the same and get so little spam it's not even funny. I use both gmail and yahoo and both are excellent at rooting out the spam. The one difference being that I get a small amount (couple times a month) of Yahoo spam on the Yahoo account, which is a small price to pay for free email. I don't remember the last time I considered spam a serious problem.

Hows that for a useless "me too" post?

Re:Spam is dead for me. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459254)

Hows that for a useless "me too" post?

No such thing if its for a minority opinion :)

My experience with gmail is different. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459232)

Like you I publicly post this address, but only on /. 22.7% of my gmail inbox is spam (20 of 88 messages). However, there are another 1394 in my spam folder.

Re:Spam is dead for me. (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459247)

You switched to a service that will archive all e-mails?

Hope you don't decide to follow Enron :)

Re:Spam is dead for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459308)

gmail for business? so, to you, email is not mission-critical? what about downtimes? even gmail might have them. what do you do in this case? oh, and what about google scanning your work-mail? don't you have some sort of "secret" or such mails? sheesh

Not quite dead (5, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459330)

You may not be seeing it, but it's still taking up gobs of bandwidth, disk and CPU, and *somebody* has to pay for all that. I think that the costs to transfer, store and process spam outweigh the cost of individuals' time spent reading/deleting it.

Re:Not quite dead (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459382)

I've offered to pay Google $10/month for better uptime.

They do a better job as they aggregate "Report Spam" into fighting future spam. Better for me and millions of others.

Re:Spam is dead for me. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459348)

I, too, use gmail. Like you, my address is on my slashdot account. Unlike you, I get about three to eight spams per day. I consider this to be pretty fantastic for an address plastered all over the internet...

Less spam (1)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459138)

I get less spam now than I used to, but I assume that is because my ISP filters a lot of it.

I report all of it to SpamCop [] .

More people should use SpamCop.Net (1) (944801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459311)

More people should report spam to SpamCop.Net. Even if busy people reported only one spam a week to SpamCop.Net, they would be making a tremendous contribution to this war against spam.

Over the years we've encouraged hundreds of individuals to report spam to SpamCop.Net, and many of them still do so today. Those with more free time (or a need for revenge because of a very strong feeling of hatred towards spammers) report all of it, and those who are busy report whatever they have time to report.

As more ISPs have been using BL.SpamCop.Net to automate the blocking of IPs known as sources of spam (because they obviously agree with SpamCop.Net's criteria), the more effective SpamCop.Net is.

Everyone should ask their ISP if they're using BL.SpamCop.Net to block spam. If the answer is negative, then insist that they look into it and follow up with them later to find out if they acted on it. It's free, easy for a server administrator to implement, and it eliminates the need to maintain your own blacklist.

Nothing To See Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459140)

except an endless stream of adverts for the same ol' same ol' tacky world of finance, medications, beggars blah blah blah

its so predictable, yet not (or we would of eliminated it)

Web 2.0 says no friggin way (4, Informative)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459143)

Anyone with a comment-enabled blog knows that e-mail spam is small worry compared to comment spam, Splogs [] and the like. Wikis and the like are vulnerable to spambots as well.

Spam is Dead (2, Funny)

TecKnow (902884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459145)

For marketing purposes no one receives 'spam' anymore, now they receive 'supper surprise funmail!' it tests much better focus groups.

I don't recieve less spam (1)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459148)

I view less spam thanks to the wonderful filters infront of my email client.

Is spam dead? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459149)

Maybe if you don't consider phish to be a kind of spam. That accounts for 90% of what gets past my filters these days. (And I suspect that that's because of the distribution of message types, rather than a problem with the filters.)

It depends (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459150)

There's lots of factors.

At work, I get very little spam. My company's filter, coupled with SpamBayes [] with a year of training does extremely well. The bigger problem is that I occasional miss e-mails that vanish in the ether.

With my GMail account, about 30% of my e-mail is spam that gets through. I'm hopeful that number will go down with training or Google tweaking their service.

It does seem that the days of getting wildly pornographic images in my work e-mail are long gone. Sniff.

Re:It depends (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459224)

The bigger problem is that I occasional miss e-mails that vanish in the ether.

Because you are not actually receiving less spam. You are seeing less spam because you are filtering it.

The net still sees the whole lot.

Throwing junk snailmail in the trash doesn't mean the carrier didn't have to haul all that shit around and put it in your box.


Spam can't be forced out. (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459153)

The ONLY way spam will go away is if stupid people stop buying the products advertised in it. If spam pays, they will find a way to send it. That's the bottom line. []

Re:Spam can't be forced out. (1)

Mr_Tulip (639140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459358)

Consider a newcomer to the internet, they have probably never used a PC before, and as yet, knowing how to "google" things, how to recognise spam etc., is not in our genetic knowledge, and they have not had time to acquire it.

The only way we could ensure noone buys spam, or at least, to minimise it is to require a license to use the internet, on an international scale. Seeing as that ain't gonna happen, and rightly so, marketers and scam-artists can safely rely on this demographic to provide their sales.

Re:Spam can't be forced out. (1)

FuzzyFox (772046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459384)

So your solution requires that stupid people stop being stupid.

We are doomed.

Well, Duh! (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459154)

You ever try to get live pig parts into a can that small? I think not.

Anecdotal evidence... (1)

captainclever (568610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459155)

*checks inbox*

Nope, spam isn't declining for me.
Wtf is a "Penis Launcher" anyway? :|

Re:Anecdotal evidence... (0, Offtopic)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459278)

Wtf is a "Penis Launcher" anyway?

Hold on to your pants, buddy, you're about to find out:






Re:Anecdotal evidence... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459343)

Yeah, even declining doesn't mean "dead." Spam will be dead when I can turn off Apple Mail's filtering and seeing a spam in my inbox is an event. Too bad the world wouldn't just get some critical thinking skills, then we could get put a serious dent in all the stupid advertising, not just the spam.

Apple Mail's spam filter works great though. My only false positive ever was a message from the university but they were asking for money, so I can understand Mail's point of view. ;)

Spam really is dead! (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459157)

Rejoice! And while we are at it, we have some fantastic investment opportunity for you, as well as dirt-cheap brand name software, the cheapest meds you'll ever find, (including potency meds, hint, hint, nudge, nudge) and the addresses and phone numbers of thousands of sexy singles in your area!

So don't hesitate and click on this link NOW! [] You won't regret it, your satisfaction is guaranteed and your personal data is safe with us!!

Gotten More, but Seen Less (1)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459161)

The spam that *tries* to get to my mailbox has been on an ever increasing curve for years. It did not slow down in 2005, nor in the first part of 2006.

However, the amount that actually makes it to my inbox has dwindled to maybe 1 or 2 a month. Spam filtering technology has outpaced and outperformed the spam sending technology beginning last year (IMHO).

On the other hand, I have not noticed an serious change in the spam algorithms in the last 6-8 months. It may be that there is a sufficient number of unguarded mailboxes so those that have protection aren't worth the effort.



Bell curve (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459167)

"I guess I exist outside the bell curve on this one."

What? The whole point of a bell curve is that extremes are possible. If you're accepting that spam follows a bell curve then your single data point is competely meaningless. A bell curve isn't a trend that you can follow or not follow - it's a distribution.

Re:Bell curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459323)

When something is exaggerated to the point of being impossible, it becomes a joke. Much like "It's so cold in Canada we can see icicles on the Sun".

Yes (1)

smartin (942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459168)

The reduction is do to the very effective CANSPAM legislation (snicker).

Article interprets data wrongly (1)

silsor (866000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459171)

The Postini site that the article cites as showing that spam volume has increased 20% over a few years actually says, on its stats page, "Spam activity has increased over 65% since January, 2002". Additionally, the article author used a single moment to make his predictions, rather than checking out any statistical trend.

Re:Article interprets data wrongly (1)

silsor (866000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459206)

Sorry, the first "increased" in my comment should read "decreased".

Invalid association (2, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459172)

Someone big says something big will stop soon.

Something big begins to slow down.

Invalid conclusion: the two are associated.

Useful thought: maybe it would have slowed down by itself.

(I think spam must eventually tail off, because it operates on the basis of effort vs profit; as spam increases, I suspect the value of an individual spam decreases; it's not a stable system. In the end, the volume of spam should therefore level off, entirely without outside intervention.)

Gates Quote (5, Funny)

Animus Howard (643891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459184)

"Nobody will ever get more than 64,000 spams."

Re:Gates Quote (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459364)

Per minute. Don't forget to use complete units. ;)

I've not noticed a decline (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459187)

My gmail spam folder holds 30 days worth of spam. It steadily goes up over time. For a while it was holding about 24,000 but it recently jumped to nearly 26,000. I don't get much spam in my inbox as the gmail spam filters seem to work well (my ten year old email account that I used before gmail is forwarded to my gmail address).

It's Still There (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459200)

Although Thunderbird catches 95% of the crap in my inbox (I'm up to about 200 junk emails per day) and I've trained it, a few get through. The ones that get though are almost always good-sounding terms jumbled into a "sentence" (sort of like some Slashdot replies). What's the point of that?

Is this designed to poison the filtering? Why bother?

But Postini sezzzzzz!!!!! (1)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459203)

From the article:

Yet the amount of spam seems to be declining. Postini ( keeps real-time data on the amount of spam it stops. A few years ago, it said spam made up around 80% of all the email circulating. When I looked last week the figure was about 60%.

Or maybe this one application / website (the only source cited for concluding spam is down) is just letting more spam get through undetected...

Maybe there is something ot all of this.... (1)

slashslashdotdot (945462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459209)

...well I am taking a different approach.
I am going to buy some "ultra hot" OGX stock and send it to Nigeria so Umbatu can buy some "V|agr@" for "p3n|s ennlarginating". Embrace the evil. Embrace it!

Spam is dead? (1)

XL70E3 (574496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459223)

I received less than 10 spam mails a day during the last year, and that is a big improvement over the previous years, i could receive something like 30-50 a day in my hotmail account alone. With my yahoomail account, almost no spam since i susbscribed(~3 years) it stayed the same. So hmm, it has been improved greatly i would say.

almost dead, well caught at least. (1)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459227)

Since the latest Exchange Service pack introduced the upgraded spam filter I get, maybe 1 spam email, every few weeks. It seems to catch them all and put it in the junk-email folder. Only one false spam id so far. Spam still comes in, but it never gets in my way... not to mention it doesn't cost me anything extra for the filter so I'm pretty content.

I know you guys are going to flame (like usuall) for saying anything that is pro-ms or suggests they did a decent job, but could we at least reserve the flames to people who have actually set it up and used it? Thanks in advance.


Want to stop it? (5, Informative)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459229)

Yes, this does take some work, and no it isn't for everybody. But this has totally eliminated all spam to my inbox (mostly due to greylisting, I think)

  1. Get a high speed connection
  2. Use some dyndns service, or register your domain, or get a business class line.
  3. Set up a sendmail server
  4. Use mimedefang, spamassassin, and milter-greylist
    • set up the greylist for 5 minutes or so. Spammers don't retry.
    • discard obvious stupidity in your mimedefang filter(no '.' in helo argument, trying to say they are you in the helo, helo is RFC1918, sender is on spamhaus RBL/XBL, etc)
    • set up things like receipt throttling and greet pause in sendmail

I was getting 2-3 flagged by spamass after passing through the mimedefang stuff before implementing greylisting. Post greylisting I've yet to get a single spam in my spam folder (they never made it to my inbox before, but I still had to deal with them.). I have things configured to flag at 2 points, discard at 7. My bayes filters have about 2 years worth of training on them, and I use RBL scoring too.

Re:Want to stop it? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459261)

Sorry to follow up to my own post. I just wanted to add that this also works very nicely on the corporate mail servers that I manage.

Au contraire! (2, Funny)

Diordna (815458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459234)

Think again! Much of what you think is "spam" is actually legitimate. Contrary to popular belief, Nigeria really *is* filled with millionaires. Of all of these, the most prominent seems to be Esenam Ayele [] .

Why are you all so prejudiced against these great offers? I myself have bought many of these products *nudge nudge* and, although I haven't seen any results yet, I have great faith.

Re:Au contraire! (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459295)

Step 1. Commit Bank Fraud
Step 2. Put traceable money in an account
Step 3. Give account details to Nigerian Spammer
Step 4. ???
Step 5. Profit

Spam: The social problem (2, Insightful) (944801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459237)

The real crux of this problem is that spam is a social problem. Although many people treat it as a problem that can be solved by purely technical means, in the long run the problem will always be there because:

0. There will always be a criminal element determined to make "a quick buck" without regard for others as long as there are people willing to do business with this criminal element (in this case, the spammers).

1. Many people use the internet who aren't computer specialists, thus are easily fooled by eMails which are designed to imitate messages normally generated by a trusted internet site (usually in an attempt to gain access to confidential information).

2. The up-front costs for the spammers are very low (and quite high for their victims, society, etc.), and there are no serious penalties thus the risks associated with getting caught are minimal (if there are any at all).

3. Marketers stubbornly and vehemently hate (in general) the idea that everyone has a right to "consent." Confirmed opt-in is key because "opt-in" alone isn't enough due to forgery.

There are many ideas for solutions, but unfortunately one of the big challenges societies face today is international differences when it comes to law & order, moral, ethical, and other standards. The internet, by its design, completely ignores international borders, and spammers are enjoying free reign as a result.

So far a combination of DNSBLs (DNS-based Block Lists) and various filters seems to work well for many ISPs, but spammers continue to find ways around these things, hence the fact that it is a social problem.

Education is key, but so far has proven to be impractical. Does anyone have any ideas for solutions (violence works, but is illegal in most civilized nations, so we need to be creative in a different way)?

P.S.: Challenge/Response systems are not the answer because they are, essentially, fighting abuse with abuse.

Education (1)

spect3r (909619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459243)

I think what has happened is that the population has a greater awareness on spam detection and spam removal/blocking/avoidance. Since I closed my HOTMAIL account in 2002 and switched to my own domain, I hardly ever receive SPAM - and if I do, it all gets filtered anyways. Have the people finally become more educated? Perhaps. That, or the masses truly believe in miracle herbs.

It's just you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459249)

I got an average 2spams/mth last year, and I haven't had any this month yet, so I can't comment.

Depends on the sense of dead (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459250)

Are we talking dead as in ``Biggie Smalls is dead" or dead as in ``Paul is Dead"?

Re:Depends on the sense of dead (1)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459299)

It was supposed to mean dead as in "Look, mate, I know a dead parrot when I see one...and I'm looking at one right now!"

Re:Depends on the sense of dead (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459374)

I was thinking dead as in the Disco sense...

Spam is dead (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459255)

I got almost a third more spam in 05 than 04. I guess I exist outside the bell curve on this one.

Why? Between GMail's filtering and Thunderbird's filtering, I have to deal with maybe 2 spam emails per week. I "get" plenty of spam. But it's DOA... in my spam folder.

Oh, ye of little faith! (4, Funny)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459260)

You're only still getting SPAY-UM because you LACK FAITH in the HEALING POWER of the Almighty Bill! BLEY-ESSED be his AH-HOLY NAY-UM! Yeah, he hath only to extend HIS HAND and take your blemishes away from your inbox! Now holds hands and UH-PAR-UYUH, PAR-AY with me brothers and sisters, that in this hour these doubting unbelievers will yet turn their hearts to the ONE TRUE FAITH, that they might be YET SAY-UVED from their hour of darkness!

It's not just more... (1)

cuerty (671497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459262)

It's more, but they can't detect it like they use to, so that's why they are claiming that it's declining.

Not really (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459269)

Gmail must have not receibe that Bill's memo, because my account not only receives almost 80 spams a day but about 7 o 8 make their way to my incoming folder.

Superb hosting [] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, ssh, $7.95

reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459281)

spam has not reduced in traffic, the spam filetering mechanisms are getting smarter, and as people above have mentioned, gmail is really good in this respect.

Explanation (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459282)

Year / Amount of SPAM
1999 - N
2000 - 2N
2001 - 4N
2002 - 8N
2003 - 16N
2004 - 32N
2005 - 31.999 N <- decline! :D

Re:Explanation (1) (944801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459347)

Oh I wouldn't worry about that -- count on the spammers to make up for it in 2006. =(

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459284)

I got almost a third more spam in 05 than 04. I guess I exist outside the bell curve on this one.

I'd imagine that'd be true, yes. Probably even worse for, but CmdrTaco is still pretty high on the list...

Greylisting cleared this thing away for me (1)

daniel23 (605413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459304)

spamAssassin and the junk filters in Eudora, Thunderbird all helped to ease the problem but I was still deleting lots of them by hand until I switched to greylisting on my mail server.
Since most of the spam gets sent by minimal smtp on hijacked pcs which just dont know how to queue mail suddenly there was silence.
It takes some whitelisting at first and some kinds of traffic, like listservers take another route, but I could finally dare to open some known for long mail adresses that had turnend into spam sinks for long.

Spam isn't getting smaller (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459309)

Spam filters are getting smarter.

filtering and giving up on accounts (1)

sd.fhasldff (833645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459314)

Probably the main reason for any fall-off in spam is blocking by the likes of hotmail, yahoo and gmail. I would have to assume that the VAST majority of users have email addresses on major hosts such as the aforementioned. Another reason is probably that people tend to give up their spam-filled email addresses in favor of new, pristine ones. I know I certainly have a few addresses in this catagory.

Less Spam (1)

Jaro (4361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459317)

My spam has actually declined from about 100 messages a day to 2-5 messages a day, that inludes the message which get caught by my spam protection. I would estimate that only one or two messages a week get through the Thunderbird protection. Just don't openly publish you address on the web... put up images which include your email, create a little java script which hides all the different parts of your email in different variables... or even putting it online like bla 'at' blup 'dot' com really seems to help.

Spam spam spam... (1)

Dvondrake (844198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459321)

In 2005 I used to get over 100 spam emails a day, now I'm getting less, probably about 10-20 a day. "I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!" -Monty Python

Phishing (1)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459340)

I get more phishing emails than spams these days.

Not that I actually *see* them, since spamassassin hasn't missed one to filter them into my spam box.

It was amazing at first! (1)

KeiichiMorisato (945464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459342)

On the first few days after the new, my spam mailbox, which usually fills up with ~100 spam emails a day, was only registering 20 or so spam messages. However after a week, the spam started flowing again.

I wonder if some of these spam mailing lists had an arbitrary expiry date set?

Also, although the spam filter is pretty good, it seems to me that more spam is getting through the filter that my ISP provides.

Here we go... (5, Insightful)

ZeldorBlat (107799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459345)

This article advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (x) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) Open relays in foreign countries
(x) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(x) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(x) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(x) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
(x) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
(x) Blacklists suck
(x) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

I haven't gotten spam for years ... (1)

Matt Ownby (158633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459349)

Ever since I started using TMDA ( [] my spam has dropped to almost zero (I probably received 2 spams in 2005). TMDA isn't a perfect solution because valid senders have greater difficulty in getting through, however, since I don't know they are trying to email me, I don't miss the emails :)

Personally, I prefer losing an unknown amount of email rather than manually checking the Bayesian filter to see if there are any false positives. Is that so wrong? :)

The page is upside down (1)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459355)

I don't think the spam problem is declining if you include all forms of unsolicited bulk email. Phishing is a real problem now - ask any bank. In the old phrase, it's not just the quantity it's the quality. Half as much spam that is four times as effective in fooling filters and/or fooling users is not a decline in spam. And would I like young members of my family or my mother to get even one spam a day offering the delights of, say, bestiality? Nope. One spam is too many and no jail is big enough for some of these operators.

I think it's necessary to turn the page with all the graphs on it the other way up. These will show an increase in governmental and IT industry self-satisfaction, cheerleading and (some might say reckless) optimism. I guess they've decided to declare the great spam war won and the problem fading. Except it isn't.

spam catch-22 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459359)

by making spam filters that catch more spam, you are making the spammers send more spam to try to get thru.

catch-22 :(

Four Letter AOL Address (1)

Arkham79 (219828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459362)

I have a four letter AOL address - I gave up counting spam a long time ago. Even with two spam filters (one on the AOL side that dumps into an IMAP based folder and one in Thunderbird) I still get between 50 and 100 pieces of spam a day......

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459368)

[Insert your favorite spam here]

(This was an incredibly funny idea, but Slashdot is defending itself!)

W00T Fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14459369)

problems that I've to fight what has Developers. The outr7each are Work that you

erm (2, Funny)

bLindmOnkey (744643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459370)

I get 4500 spam mails a month filtered through gmail each month since last year. Then again some asshole freshman thought it'd be funny to submit my email address along with my name and my school's telephone number to a few popup ads. Before last year I received 1 or 2 spam mails a day. So from 04-05 my spam mail increased 4500%. No decrease for me.

Error while connecting to reality - ECONNLOST (1)

Omega Hacker (6676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459379)

"these rely on credulousness, which has a finite supply"

I don't know what planet the author of this piece is living on, but around here the place is filled with morons who wouldn't know a phishing scam from a hole in the head.

If spam is dead someone should tell IT that (1)

edo-01 (241933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14459388)

Since mid-December 2005 I have caught 4293 spam emails in my gmail spam filter, nearly all of which comes via a redirected email address I have been using since 1999. I know the sensible thing to do is abandon that address and start a fresh one, but I refuse to let the bastards win.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?