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Are Spammers Giving Up?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the only-in-our-dreams dept.

327

sfjoe writes "Are spammers giving up the game? Google seems to think so. In an article at Wired, Google, '... says that spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year'. They think their own filters are so good that spammers aren't even trying anymore. 'Other experts disagree with Google, pointing out that overall spam attempts continue to rise. By most estimates, tens of billions of spam messages are sent daily. Yet for most users, the amount of spam arriving in their inboxes has remained relatively flat, thanks to improved filtering.'"

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For Serious? (4, Insightful)

mashade (912744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524063)

All one has to do is glance at a mail log to see that no, in fact, spammers are not giving up. This one does not require reading tfa.

Re:For Serious? (5, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524163)

I wouldn't be so sure. I did feel the ground get a bit cooler. As if something just froze over. However, it could just be my imagination. ... Oh yeah, It's just my imagination!

If they give up (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524173)

will she still love you more than any other guy? Or will your short and flaccid member be the shame you bear?

Re:For Serious? (3, Funny)

coldmist (154493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524261)

Like anyone on Slashdot reads tfa... ;)

Re:For Serious? (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524333)

Wrong, because the issue is not whether all spammers have quit (they haven't), but whether there is a decrease.

Re:For Serious? (4, Insightful)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524581)

What I've heard from other sources is that there isn't a decrease, either. It may be that spammers are avoiding gmail specifically.

Re:For Serious? (3, Insightful)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524701)

In that case, expect to see more people using gmail in the future.

Re:For Serious? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524515)

How many users look at mail logs? In my inbox I see far less spam than I saw a couple years ago. This may be entirely due to better filtering than by any decline in spam sent... but from my perspective it doesn't make a lot of difference.

Re:gmail spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524519)

In 2006 I set up a gmail account so that I could forward mail from my (personal) mail server for web access while I was on travel in Europe. In the end, I never really used it, and the account has lain dormant. In fact, the last legitimate email it received was a temperature alert from my RAID box months ago (because of an air conditioning failure). Yet, there are hundreds (or more) spam messages flooding the account.

Since the user name is not obvious and has never been disclosed, it is hard to understand how this account could be receiving *any* spam. If spammers dictionary attacks were smart enough to include that user name (not the one I normally use), I would be seeing it in spam at my other email accounts, and I am not. Since I didn't disclose it, I see no other possibility than Google (or one of Google's employees) disclosed it.

Hmm, the spammers still like me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524521)

I have a Gmail account that has been given out to only three people. I use it only to send work documents back and forth to those three people. It has never been used for any kind of account sign up or such. I get tens if not hundreds of pieces of spam per week to it (Google has always correctly identified the spam as such though). The account name is unique enough that they are unlikely to be dictionary attacks.

Re:Hmm, the spammers still like me. (1)

Psychor (603391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524609)

I get exactly the same issue with my gmail account, even though I've never given out its address since my normal mail is redirected to it via my domain, and the name isn't easily guessable. Seems rather suspicious.

Hopefully they're finally getting... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524097)

...all that cancer I've wished upon them.

Well..... Not really. (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524107)

I had 14 'spam' emails in my Gmail 'spam' folder this morning having cleared it last night. Of course, definitions are subjective on what is alot or a little spam..

Re:Well..... Not really. (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524159)

I had 14 'spam' emails in my Gmail 'spam' folder this morning having cleared it last night. Of course, definitions are subjective on what is alot or a little spam..
But that is marked and filtered. So it doesn't mess up your inbox. How many mails have you had in your inbox this last month? I had maybe two or three, and hundreds in the spam folder. But I don't care about those, as long as they are not false positives.

But that isn't "giving up". (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524189)

The spammers are still sending the spam. They aren't giving up.

But the filters are getting good enough to filter most of it so the users do not have to see it.

But the spammers are still sending it.

Re:But that isn't "giving up", it's over filtering (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524453)

Actually, some of the filters, like those used by the UW with WebPine, are starting to treat overly-linked emails from the UW Bookstore and computer magazines as spam.

The treatment of the UW-owned UW Bookstore emails as spam by the UW's WebPine is deliciously ironic, of course ...

Re:But that isn't "giving up", it's over filtering (1)

tc3driver (669596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524751)

White list FTW!

Re:Well..... Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524257)

... but in the overall scheme of things, the signal/noise ratio continues to worsen. I have to assume that at a certain point, there is no algorithm in the world that will be able to effectively "filter" and identify legitimate email anymore. Right now the spam:ham ratio is somewhere around 5:1 or 10:1. What if it worsens to 100:1? What about 1,000,000:1. You think gmail will still be able to deliver your mail?

Re:Well..... Not really. (5, Funny)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524335)

You remember when Bill Gates said spam would be over by 2006? Boy was he right -- I haven't had spam in my inbox in weeks. Thanks, Google.

My Experience (4, Interesting)

bizitch (546406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524113)

Gmail completely rocks!

Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate

I sometimes get the occasional Nigerian scam letters - but thats it

Re:My Experience (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524305)

Thats stupid because Gmail used to quite accurate but lately my inbox has been getting full of "Replica Watches".

Re:My Experience (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524311)

Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate

So given the volume of spam what do you get, 200 or 300 a day?

Re:My Experience (1)

phaunt (1079975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524727)

Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate
So given the volume of spam what do you get, 200 or 300 a day?
Nah, that'd mean he'd there are 20 or 30 million spam e-mails addressed to him that he'd get if he didn't have any filtering. Myself, I thought the figure of 99.999% would be a bit on the high side. GP mentioned he occasionally gets the odd Nigerian scam letter -- let's say once a month, i.e. 0.03 per day. Let's further assume that without any spam filtering, you receive 300 spam messages a day, is that a fair estimate? That means a factor of 10,000 yielding 99.99% accuracy. I made a few assumptions, so GP's figure wasn't that far off.

Re:My Experience (2, Funny)

trcooper (18794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524419)

Gmail freaking sucks. I get several spams TO MY INBOX every day. Frequently in some foreign language. There are 25 messages in my spam folder, and 5 in my inbox which are clearly spam just since midnight.

Google is wrong both about spammers giving up and about the awsomeness of their filters.

I'm not sure what my company uses, but Google should invest in that product... My corporate email has been listed on the interwebs for 10 years, and I MAY get a spam once a week, and usually that only gets to the blackberry for some reason, my outlook client catches the rest.

Google is tooting their own horn way too much here. They have a lot they need to improve, they are clearly not the best in this area.

Re:My Experience (1)

tubapro12 (896596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524553)

Gmail freaking rocks. It must be a matter of luck. I get tons of Chinese and Japanese spam (not to mention English) and it all goes to my spam folder (around 50 a day total, as my address is plastered around the web). Actually, I have NEVER (seriously) gotten spam in my inbox with Gmail. However, I have had a few legitimate emails filtered into my spam folder.

Re:My Experience (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524451)

Actually GMail is pretty good and I could see a decline in SPAM to gmail because I wonder if the SPAMMERS are realizing its futile.

Think about this. If GMail is really effective and blocks essentially all SPAM, why send them SPAM? Answer none, since it does cost something to send spam these days. Thus to optimize you avoid sending to gmail.

I know I have noticed with my email server that there is a rotation. The spammers have stopped sending to many addresses and then try other addresses.

Thus the SPAM solution is to make SPAM detectors as effective as Gmail. This then leads to the question if google doesn't have a new business model. I know if Google could cut down the spam to an effective zero I would be one happy camper.

Re:My Experience (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524665)

Hormel has been very cool about the whole "spam" label. I know, if they were to fight it now, they'd lose, but they didn't fight it even when there were commercial "Anti-Spam" products just hitting the market.

All they ask is one thing: that you not spell it in ALL-CAPS when referencing the email variety of spam. That's still their trademark. And I don't think it's too much to ask.

Re:My Experience (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524459)

Google needs to sell/service their spam detection service. I've gotten 100 spam e-mail messages since noon and 0 false positives or negatives. The only problem is I like to host my own e-mail (well at Dreamhost). Recently Gmail greylisted Dreamhost because of people using catchalls and forwarding their e-mail (making it look like Dreamhost was spamming).

I would PAY MONEY for something like a spamassasin plugin with subscription. Currently SA still has a worse record than Gmail but it's about the only thing I can use on my own. I may end up going back to forwarding to G-mail just because of how awesome their detection is.

Gmail needs improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524647)

Gmail really needs a way to filter within the junk mail.

It does a good job of sending spam there, but every once in awhile, I do get a legit email in there, so essentially, I still have to scan through my junk mail.

This could be fairly easily improved, because I keep getting the same (or VERY similar) spam messages there, like containing the word 'penis' or whatever. If only I could apply the regular filters to the spam folder and just send certain ones to the trash, it would go a long way.

Why haven't they implemented this??? Doesn't anyone else have this problem?

Re:My Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524669)

Maybe Google's version of spam is so well targeted that you are unable to detect it from actual mail.

Re:My Experience (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524717)

Gmail's spam detection rate is phenomenal. That being said, I haven't seen any decrease in spam to my Gmail accounts. I still only get one or two messages a month that make it through into my inbox, but if I check the "Spam" folder in Gmail (which I do empty regularly), I'm not seeing any decrease.

Re:My Experience (1)

sudnshok (136477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524775)

I've been using gmail for over a year now and I think they may be 100% for me. I don't recall getting a single spam in my inbox, and not a single false positive in my spam folder. In any case, 99.999% or 100%... they rock!

I've noticed... (3, Interesting)

coldmist (154493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524121)

that over the past few months, I've been getting a lot more spam mail through my ISP's filter, *and* through Thunderbird's filter. Those random words sprinkled throughout the message is even getting it past the Bayesian filtering now.

It seems that have it figured out pretty good to me.

Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (-1, Offtopic)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524137)

As the Windows world shrinks due to people not wanting to use Vista, the opportunity to spread virii decreases exponentially.

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524221)

It's not so much the viruses as the spam that is the topic of TFA.

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524325)

But a lot of spam tends to be hosted on Win boxen. If you do the metrics.

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524829)

This may very well be true, but the source is a different topic than the sink.
If it's about the Winboxen, then the story is more about old 'Doze versions collapsing under their sheer craptacularity, or that the network headz are gaining ground against the botnets (maybe).

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524229)

What a joke. The people switching from XP to non-Windows OSs is such a small number there's no way it could affect spam numbers even a little bit.

Not to mention that spam email usually isn't meant to spread viruses.

Although you might indeed be joking, in which case hehehehe yeah. I also like the "decreases exponentially" bit you added in.

Altogether this is a lot like Dennis Rodman's "chemistry is that class you take in high school or college, where you learn that two plus two is 10 or something." There's so much wrong in it I can't figure out whether it's the highest level of idiocy or genius.

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524353)

Not to mention that spam email usually isn't meant to spread viruses.

While its true that not much spam is meant to spread viruses, many viruses do send spam. The botnets that are used by the major spammers to propagate spam throughout the world are heavily populated with compromised windows boxes.

So while the conversion rate of windows users to users of non-windows operating systems isn't tremendous, the OP has a point in that compromised windows systems do make the spammers' lives easier. Whether or not this ties in directly to a speculative decrease in spam volume is open to discussion.

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (5, Funny)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524321)

Mod parent +2 Optimistic Lovely sentiment, but that's kind of like saying, "It snowed this weekend because I installed compact flourescent lightbulbs in my house".

Re:Not giving up, just more Macs and Linux (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524399)

No, it snowed because of atmospheric seeding from Chinese pollution - I live in Seattle.

Besides, LEDs would be a wiser choice and have no mercury ballasts.

Just do the metrics on where the Zombies are. Yes, mostly Chinese Win boxen.

Yahoo (5, Interesting)

tmarthal (998456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524167)

I have no other experience with hotmail, but my free webmail experience has consisted of Yahoo! and Gmail.

Let me tell you, Yahoo!'s spam rate has not improved. I am not sure if their filter isn't as good, or they are just taking money from the wrong people, but I get at least one spam message make it into my inbox per day, maybe 2-3. Oftentimes, the spamming links back to a geocities.com page. Coincidence? I don't know.

With Gmail, I get one spam message per month (maybe) make it into my inbox. They are so rare, its comforting. And since they are so few and far between, I actually use the 'Report Spam' option, because it looks like get this that their filters are actually updated with my input, and I don't see spam of that same type ever again.

This is different from Yahoo, I report spam all the time and yet the same exact message types make it past the filters into my inbox. I even report phishing there, but that doesnt' seem to help.

Can anyone with internal Yahoo webmail operation shed some light into what they actually do with user input? It would be nice to know that someone, somewhere (or at least a script) is using my button clicking for input.

Re:Yahoo (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524267)

This is different from Yahoo, I report spam all the time and yet the same exact message types make it past the filters into my inbox. I even report phishing there, but that doesnt' seem to help.


Everybody knows Yahoo tech support had been replaced with brain-eating zombies since a while ago. It's useless to report.

Re:Yahoo (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524375)

I have an old Yahoo! account that I check on every so often. It's nothing but a spam magnet now, and no matter how many times I've reported all the spam, it's still getting through. I guess they're trying to be a spam lightning rod by letting it all through.

Re:Yahoo (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524541)

Yahoo is definitely having problems. I don't mind the occasional spam getting through, but I also keep the same email that I used their "spam" button on. Even worse, non-spam email shows up in my spam box at least once or twice a week, even when I have repeatedly clicked the "not spam" button. I have noticed this because I always scan the spam box before deleting, but I wonder how many people bother to do this without realizing how bad Yahoo is about this.

Re:Yahoo (0, Troll)

BlueMerle (1161489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524725)

I have no other experience with hotmail, but my free webmail experience has consisted of Yahoo! and Gmail. Let me tell you, Yahoo!'s spam rate has not improved. I am not sure if their filter isn't as good, or they are just taking money from the wrong people, but I get at least one spam message make it into my inbox per day, maybe 2-3. Oftentimes, the spamming links back to a geocities.com page. Coincidence? I don't know. With Gmail, I get one spam message per month (maybe) make it into my inbox. They are so rare, its comforting. And since they are so few and far between, I actually use the 'Report Spam' option, because it looks like get this that their filters are actually updated with my input, and I don't see spam of that same type ever again. This is different from Yahoo, I report spam all the time and yet the same exact message types make it past the filters into my inbox. I even report phishing there, but that doesnt' seem to help. Can anyone with internal Yahoo webmail operation shed some light into what they actually do with user input? It would be nice to know that someone, somewhere (or at least a script) is using my button clicking for input.

This is so spot on that I just had to copy again in case someone missed it above! This has been my experience almost word for word!

As Much Spam As There Ever Was (2, Interesting)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524179)

I seem to get as much regular spam as before. However I now get MySpace and Facebook spam as well. People trolling to be my friend in all sorts of special professional ways.

You can complain about the privacy aspects all day (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524185)

...but having the mail stay parked with your Gmails, Hotmails, and Yahoo!s helps multiply the effectiveness of the anti-spam efforts.
Friend of mine was laughing the other day when a plea to help a Nigerian came through.
Nothing like a holiday note from a dear, old, !friend.

<tangent>
Anybody else have fun with mail servers configured to drop attachments? Forwarded something from Gmail to another organizational account (AOA) with a .zip and a .tar.gz attachment of stuff to work on.
AOA's utterly brilliant configuration dropped the .zip and allowed the .tar.gz.
I love the smell of bogus security in the morning: it smells like crapola.
</tangent>

Dropping .zip, but leaving .tar.gz, not bad (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524415)

Given that most users do not even posses a program capable of decoding a .tar.gz (despite its near-ubiquity among IT folks, WinZip (or other programs that can read .tgz's) is by no means a universally installed program)

I have gotten craploads of spam/attempted malware that contains zip files, but nobody has ever attempted to send me a .tar.gz file in a spam. Is dropping zip files only foolproof? no, but that doesn't mean that it is a bad idea.

SirWired

Re:Dropping .zip, but leaving .tar.gz, not bad (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524623)

It is good to be the IT guy in a company where a suitable punishment for opening virus-laden zip files is to take away someone's computer for a few days. People don't learn until it actually matters to them, and doing a week's planning on paper is really annoying to most modern office workers.

Re:You can complain about the privacy aspects all (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524549)

A lot of corporate filters drop .zip files specifically due to a rash of Windows .zip file exploits that went on a couple years ago. .tar.gz was never affected, and so are not dropped.

Better filters != less spam (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524187)

Over the last week I've switched some filter rules from logging to not-logging, but I don't think for a moment that means the spammers have stopped trying. If I were to turn logging back on, I'm sure I'd get to watch the tail running on the log grow rapidly with each filter like a bugs hitting the zapper.

I do wish there was an option for egrep -i -f blacklist where instead of returning the line that matched a rule in the blacklist file, it would return the rule in the blacklist file that matched the line. It would make it a lot easier to diagnose problem rules. The closest I can get to that is the -o option.

Re:Better filters != less spam (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524473)

So anybody want to buy a watch? Quality replica. Rolex. Er, I mean R0lex.

Gmail's Spam Filter Works (1)

End Program (963207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524197)

Although I get nervous about what Google is doing with my emails, I have to admit their spam filter works.

I get my fair share of spam in my Gmail account, but I can't remember the last time any of it landed in my inbox. It is all sitting in the spam folder. It also seams like their false positive rate is very low.

gmail / spam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524205)

If Google claims that spam attempts to gmail have gone down, that does not mean that the overall volume of spam has gone down. It indicates that spammers have stopped targeting gmail accounts, which are involved in only a very small percentage of all e-mail.

Re:gmail / spam (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524377)

Mod up! I was going to say the same thing. Its like saying that all assassins have given up, just because they have learned to fear me. I mean of course Gmail's spam filter works great, and I *do* strike fear into the hearts of all men, but If you aren't using gmail or me, heaven help you. I've heard that spam slows down a bit after your head has been put on the mantle of your arch nemesis, but thats just not something I have to worry about.

Gmail spam filter going strong (1)

moximus (254954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524215)

Considering gmail clears out my spam folder after roughly 30 days... my folder lingers somewhere around 16,000 for 30 days worth. Granted, I forward several addresses to gmail, but the filter works so well that only 2-5 slip through daily.

Spammers give up? Not likely (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524223)

They won't give up as long as there's a monetary incentive for them to send out spam. As long as they can sell something through spam, they will continue to send it out. We can talk about how wonderful filter ABC is, and compare it endlessly for false positives against filter XYZ. But in the end, its just a matter of time until the spammers defeat both of them, and we're on to filter ABC version 2.

So no, in the end, nothing that most people are doing will do squat to bring about the end of spam. You can filter until you're blue in the face, and spam will still be sent. You can shut down all your mailboxes and open a new gmail address every week, and you'll still get spammed.

Spam is sent because spammers can make money by sending it. Period.

Silly question (1)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524235)

Spam will quit when Criminals give up crime. It'll never happen. They make money from it.

Lobbying = Filtering (0)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524237)

No doubt Gmail's filtering technology is really impressive, especially compared to that done by Yahoo and Hotmail. It's a shame that the big providers don't throw a few million dollars into lobbying congress to enact harsh criminal penalties for spammers. Spammers, as a class, are doubtless smarter and better informed than most other criminals, and the existence of mandatory minimum prison sentences and so forth would likely deter US spammers to a much greater degree than it does for, say, crack cocaine users.

Admittedly, such legislation would do little to deter spammers outside the US. But it would cut the Viagra/Levitra spammers off at the knees. Plus, it would be immensely satisfying to know that at least a handful of spammers are doing serious time in the clink.

I have certainly seen less (5, Informative)

sgeye (757198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524245)

I manage the spam firewall where I work, and I have seen a significant drop this month vs last month. In October we processed 20,000-30,000 emails a day, averaging near 25,000. In the month of November, we have only exceeded 20,000 in a day once, with most days falling short of 15,000. This months average is closer to what it was during the summer, we had seen the increase to around 25,000/day during August/September.

Spam Rates Slowing (1)

GodCandy (1132301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524251)

I can state that as the administrator for my company's e-mail server our volume of spam has decreased sense last year at this time. I would venture to say that spam that is being sent is "smarter" and is formated in a way to make it past some if not all filters. Volume is going down but quality is going up. Guess we are making progress on some fronts. G

Re:Spam Rates Slowing (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524391)

Your view is just too small. I work for one of the major anti-spam vendors, and we've seen the spam volume double in about the last four months. Less spam is being shot at your MX, but that's counter to the global trend.

not likely (5, Insightful)

untorqued (957628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524259)

It's hard to imagine that spam filters have gotten to the point where spamming doesn't make economic sense. After all, the business model is something like

  1. Send an email to 10,000 random people
  2. Get money from one of those people
  3. Profit

Even adding a couple zeroes to the recipient number (which improved spam filters should be doing) doesn't make much of a dent in the total expenses, if I understand correctly. Lawsuits under the CAN SPAM law, however, could make it too costly to get past step 1. Unfortunately, it seems like the judicial system still needs a little help here [slashdot.org] .

Don't Filter, Greylist (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524269)

Filtering may work decently, but it is resource intensive and depending on your email load, you may need a scanning box as big as your regular email server.

Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylisting [wikipedia.org]
or
http://projects.puremagic.com/greylisting/whitepaper.html [puremagic.com]

Our own office only has about 150 mailboxes but we don't do any filtering at all because of our greylisting as implemented by http://www.openbsd.org/spamd [openbsd.org]

Even better we can greylist at the perimeter instead of letting all of that pointless traffic onto our own network.

And if you're feeling particularily vindictive start posting trapped email address on your own publicly available webpages. Make them invisible or hidden under other content but still harvestable by bots. And soon enough a significant percentage of email addresses out there will point to tarpits. Making botnet spamming a much slower proposition, and should therefore decrease the total ammount of spam.

Re:Don't Filter, Greylist (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524531)

Yeah, I run greylistd (Debian, apt-get, no config needed for exim4). and works a treat. Cut about 90% of my spam. I'm running SpamAssassin too course, and Thunderbird filtering. I was getting over 300/day. Of course, my email is all over usenet, so that's somewhat expected.

Re:Don't Filter, Greylist (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524831)

Yup, I use graylisting too... I don't need any other spam filter, whatever comes through is handled by thunderbird and it really isn't much. Graylisting is great....

Gmail spam filters SUCK. (1)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524271)

Google marks as SPAM email even thought the sender is in my contact list and I have repeatedly marked (hundreds of times) the messages as not spam. My Conclusion is Gmail's filters are crap for this sole reason. They don't even know the problem exists as they have no direct contact with the user and make reporting it too difficult.

Google filters are impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524273)

With the same id (different domain), on google, yahoo, and hotmail, try to go to different sites and create 3 different ids tied to those. You will find that Hotmail is the worse, yahoo a fairly close second, and google a LONG ways away. In the last 3 months, this generated : hot mail, more than 600 spams; yahoo, more than 500; google less than 20. Try it, you will be surprised.

Home Junk mail, cold callers (1)

vchoy (134429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524287)

Do I get less junk mail in my letter box at home these days?
Do I get less call centre calls to my phone during dinner these days?

You get less if there are regulatory or filter restrictions in place. Doesn't reduce the number of people/organizations sending out or calling.

Give Up??? (0, Offtopic)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524303)

but i has euge c0ck 4 u!!! grow big!!!

Not giving up, just changing methods (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524309)

While I've seen a decline in multiple e-mail accounts I use, I've noticed an increase in spam posts on a forum I now help run. Of course this could be due to a security hole in phpBB2 that we haven't patched, but with all the mods a previous admin made, it's now a pain in the butt to attempt.

Of course they've given up (5, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524317)

Spammer 1: We can't get anything past Google's filter.

Spammer 2: Agreed. [sighs]

Spammer 1: I guess we'll have to give up spamming.

Spammer 2: Seems that way.

Spammer 1: Unless...

Spammer 2: You have an idea?

Spammer 1: Why don't we keep spamming everyone else!

Spammer 2: Rapture! You're so smart!

Seriously? (1)

magicalyak (591713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524329)

I have hardly had any spam on gmail until the last two months (having had the account for over 3 years). It's about 1 a day now, which is nothing compared to other free email programs. However, maybe I'm the exception?

Spam? What Spam? (2, Funny)

Orleron (835910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524379)

I dunno, spam's not so bad. After all these years on email, my penis is longer, and never flacid because of these cool pills I'm taking, and this Nigerian guy gave me a few million bucks, which I subsequently donated to charity to save that poor little boy, even though all he wanted was teddy bears and flowers. Bill, tell these people that there's no such thing as spam. Come on. Will ya?

Re:Spam? What Spam? (1)

Orleron (835910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524435)

Oh, and if anyone can tell me how to pronounce V1agr4, I'd really appreciate it. It's the only thing about this bottle of pills that puzzles me.

No. (1)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524395)

Next story, please

Get @ b1gg3r p3n15 t0d@y (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524401)

I just want to know why so many people think I have issues with the size of my penis.

But in all seriousness, in the last years spammers have simply moved to slightly weasel-ier territories: pay-to-play online games like World of Warcraft and social communities like Facebook or forums.

On our own college anime club forum of about 40 people we get something like 5-10 bots signing up a day. Thank god we turned on e-mail confirmation...but even THEN spammers now compensate for that (manual labor?).

Its freaking' ridiculous.

The worst part is I'm so against spam I refuse to purchase anything from a banner ad. And I've even seen a few things I'd like to buy.

But they lost a sale. Instead of using mediums such as conventions, magazines or television, they plastered their ads over some torrent site, jeopardizing the moral integrity of that site in the process (which is now making thousands off banner revenue instead of _just_ trying to free the information "that wants to be free").

Quality over Quantity? (2, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524407)

Perhaps spammers are focusing on how to get a smaller number of messages through the filters rather that upping the number of messages sent.

It's all about the zombies (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524423)

It's all about the zombies, of course. There really aren't that many different spammers left. Look at how little diversity there is in incoming spam. That's why GMail works so well. If you filter a large number of mailboxes in a coordinated way, the basic characteristic of spam, many messages sent from one source, just pops out at you.

The only reason we still have a spam problem is zombies running on Microsoft Windows desktop machines. These are sources for the last few incoming spams:

  • 71-83-93-18.dhcp.rvsd.ca.charter.com
  • 189-015-128-110.xd-dynamic.ctbcnetsuper.com.br
  • i05v-212-194-126-37.d4.club-internet.fr
  • 91-65-156-187-dynip.superkabel.de

Those just have to be botnets.

So, as usual, it's all Microsoft's fault, shipping an OS that encourages users to download executables that operate with the user's full privileges.

Re:It's all about the zombies, shake those bongos! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524509)

The only reason we still have a spam problem is zombies running on Microsoft Windows desktop machines. These are sources for the last few incoming spams:

I tried to say the same thing, but the MSFT is God police downmodded me for that.

But, you're correct.

For want of a secure OS the email was lost.

In Gmail, false positives = whole threads junked (4, Informative)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524429)

In Gmail, the problem is false positives: when Gmail labels a message as junk, it moves *the whole thread* to the junk folder. So if you have a thread with 20 messages, and the 21st is incorrectly classified as spam, poof, also all the other previous 20, that you had confidently filed away, silently go into the spam folder, where they are silently deleted after 30 days. This is a consequence of how Gmail deals with threads, or "conversations". I reported this bug to the Gmail team long ago, but they haven't fixed it yet as far as I know.

So if you want someone using Gmail to delete an email exchange they had with you, send them an additional message in the same thread offering to sell them Viagra. They will never see the message, but the whole thread will be deleted in one month. Disclaimer: I have not tried this (but I have lost email due to the above problem, and I know I did, as I keep a separate backup of my mail via pop, where the missing messages were still present).

Some are giving up (2, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524463)

Some spammers are giving up. Mainly because they realize that running botnets is a better way of making money.

Not giving up, not getting any worse (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524481)

I run a mail system for a small, but highly publicized group of emails. For the last few years, spam has been pretty steady: ~25k spam emails daily, maybe 50 quarantines, and about 1000 valid messages.

Obligatory Dvorak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524523)

I get no spam!

Note to spammers (5, Funny)

jimlintott (317783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524525)

Spammers, please take note that I actually have a large penis. Your assistance and concern, while appreciated, is simply not required.

They ought to give up (2, Insightful)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524527)

I suppose someone must be responding to them, but for the life of me, I can't imagine who. They're just an annoying part of working online that I've come to accept unfortunately. I'm still waiting for a law similar to the National Do Not Call List [https://www.donotcall.gov/] that will provide some relief to my inbox. Of course, you've got to deal with the international aspect of spam, but considering that ISP's can control what comes in, that shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.

I agree (2, Informative)

pkulak (815640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524555)

My personal experience backs this up. The amount of spam my hosted personal account gets is about half what it was 6 months ago. I was wondering the same thing myself.

Oh yeah? Check my yahoo account (1)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524583)

On yahoo's dime I collect thousands of spam messages a week. I log in once every 59 days to make sure that yahoo can keep the privilege of being trusted to handle all my garbage. I wish instead of an [empty] button, there was a [forward to Eric Estrada] link.

Yeah, right (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524619)

My spam count (after DNSBL) for 2007Q4 is up to over 160,000. That's more than Q3 already. Just a year ago it it was less than a quarter of that.

I want some of what those boys are smoking.

spammers are testing their messages to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524689)

all kinds of providers to see what gets through. Only a matter of time that some spammers will deliberately *not* send certain flavors of spam to certain providers that blocked them in testing.

Once major blow to spammers would be for google to sell their anti-spam service to other providers. Of course gmailers would be pissed at google making $$$ from their clicks.

Two Different Truths, But Not In Conflict (2, Interesting)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524703)

In an article at Wired, Google, '... says that spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year'.
and

Other experts disagree with Google, pointing out that overall spam attempts continue to rise.


Well yes, they can easily both be true.

If, for example, spammers are learning that sending spam to @gmail addresses is a pointless exercise in futility. So they further concentrate their efforts on non-gmail addresses.

Google sees a significant drop of spam arriving at gmail (though via accounts which POP3 mail from external addresses, there'll always be some spam).

Everyone else (not Google) sees their inbound spam increasing/strong.

I noticed a drop. (1)

JohnWasser (888342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524721)

For months I've not been manually deleting mail in my GMail spam mailbox. GMail automatically deletes spam messages older than 30 days. Now I can look at the 'unread messages' count on that mailbox to see how many spams have been caught in the last 30 days. At one point it was up over 6,000 but I noticed that it has been dropping. It's currently down by more than half to 2,881. Of course I don't know the exact cause of the reduction but I would not be surprised if spammers were avoiding GMail accounts.

Why give up? (5, Insightful)

OnlyHalfEvil (1112299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524741)

Let's even imagine that spam filters were 99.99% accurate, what would be the benefit of not spamming anymore? It costs them nothing, so if they send out millions of spams per day and only get a few bites, they're still making a profit.

There's no incentive to stop spamming unless it becomes arduous to do so. Nether technology nor litigation are close enough to make that happen.

Re:Why give up? (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524847)

Sorry no mod points but possibly the most insightful comment about this I have seen here yet.

Spam on the decline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21524743)

Not on our mail servers. It's on the rise.

What about user education (2, Insightful)

andrewdoyle (586170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524767)

Surely at some point (probably later, rather than sooner) the number of users who aren't duped by spam will be such that spammers will have no market. The only reason that spammers continue to send spam is that there are gullible fools clicking the links and maintaining the demand for spam. Once the user base is educated enough (ie. no more users who haven't grown up with computers who say things like "But they've address the email to me. It must be important..."), there'll be no market. Or am I living in La La Land?

My Inbox SPAM has dropped 87% (1)

Ted Stoner (648616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524777)

I would say 9-12 months ago, my quarantined email mailbox contained about 160 SPAM emails per day. Now I would say I only have to look at 20. That's a decrease of 87.5% from last year. I can't say for sure whether my ISP does any sort of pre-filtering to eliminate more before it hits my box, but otherwise, I would say, yes, the spammers might be giving up and moving on to other avenues (spamvenues).

Bandwidth (5, Interesting)

The_Craigster (906389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524789)

How much extra bandwidth would the internet have, if there was no spam bouncing around. I say we shut off port 25 on every router for just 6 hours and watch the bit torrents just scream :). Have a moment of email silence.

Gmail spam experience (1)

foxylad (950520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21524839)

Since I moved to Gmail, I get about one piece of spam a week, and have had one false positive that I've noticed. It's so good I've started piping my user's email through it - redirect from my server, then get Gmail to redirect back to a spamfree account that the customer picks up. This was after months of trying spam assassin, bayesian filters and greylisting, and Gmail did better than all of them.

I know, I'm a fanboy, but it's because they do a good job. How have others found the efficacy of Gmail's spam filtering?

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