How To Identify SpamWritten by Lewis Leake
Most of us have opened our email program and found, alongside correspondence from people that we know, offers for products from commercial web sites. Some of these emails we expect. We have asked to be notified of sales and other opportunities or joined a mailing list offered by company.
Many times, however, offers are from companies that we have never done business with and may have never even heard of. This is Spam, unsolicited bulk email, and can quickly lead to a massive overload of your inbox.
Identifying Spam as soon as it occurs is first step to preventing it from happening again. Once your email address is in circulation with these companies, you are well on your way to a very nasty problem. Advertising from legitimate companies is one form. The rest are for illegal services, pornographic material, questionable products, and fraudulent schemes. It is invasive and many times illegal. Spam is worst form of junk mail and a typical reason why many people have to change their email addresses.
In best cases, clue can be found in subject line. If you are offered quick money or a chance to find your long lost high school classmate, you can probably guess that it is Spam.
You may be amazed that, as you read your email, that these companies claim a right to send you this email because you have a relationship with one of their “partners” or “affiliates”. All that this may mean is that they bought your email address from another company with dubious privacy policies. It is still Spam.
Spammers will try to trick you. Unfortunately for us, Spammers only need a response rate, by some estimates, of 0.0001% in order to be profitable. This means that they will use practically any measure to get you to open it before hitting delete button. You may receive an email from Grandma or one asking for help in subject line. Before you know it, you are reading their advertisement, if only out of curiosity.
Evict the Spammers from Your InboxWritten by Paul Judge, CTO, CipherTrust, Inc.
Block Spam and Other Email Threats From Entering Your Gateway Spam, commonly defined as unsolicited commercial email, is a powerful advertising channel for many products and services. As a result, spamming has become a profitable business, driven by low cost of sending email compared to other direct marketing techniques. The high return on investment for spammers has resulted in an overwhelming volume of unwanted messages in personal and business email boxes. Consider this: Conducting a direct mail campaign costs an average of $1.39 per person, meaning that a response rate of 1 in 14 is necessary just to break even on a product with a $20 gross profit. Selling same item via unsolicited spam email costs only $0.0004 per person, meaning that a response rate of 1 in 50,000 gets seller back to break-even; anything above that is gravy. With profit margins like these, it’s easy to see why spammers will try anything to get past anti spam technology to deliver their messages to your inbox.
Types of Spam Threats The recent onset of fraudulent spam variants such as phishing and spoofing pose an even greater risk than spam volume clogging email servers. Spammers use techniques such as phishing and spoofing to fool users into opening messages that, at first glance, appear innocuous.
Phishing Phishing is a specific type of spam message that solicits personal information from recipient. Phishers use social engineering techniques to fool end users into believing that message originated from a trusted sender, making these attacks especially dangerous because they often con victims into divulging social security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers. In one six-month period from November 2003 to May 2004, phishing attacks increased in frequency by 4000%, and trend continues upward.
An example of phishing is an email that appears to come from a bank requesting that users log into their account to update or correct personal information. When users follow a link embedded in email, they are redirected to a site that looks and behaves like expected bank website. However, unbeknownst to soon-to-be identity theft victims, site is actually controlled by scam artists who sent email; any and all information entered by victim can now be used in a variety of ways, none of them good.
Spoofing Spoofing is a deceptive form of spam that hides domain of spammer or spam’s origination point. Spammers often hijack domains of well-known businesses or government entities to make spam filters think communication is coming from a legitimate source.
Today’s spammers are more crafty than ever before and have begun blending elements of both phishing and spoofing into their messages, further spinning their web of deception. The toxic combination of spoofing and phishing presents a major threat that can trick most anyone into providing personal information to a stranger.
Toothless Legislation On January 1, 2004, President Bush signed into law “Controlling Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003,” or “CAN-SPAM” Act. While well intentioned, CAN-SPAM has done little or nothing to curb flow of unwanted email. In fact, an estimated 97% of all spam email sent in 2004 violated Act, and United States still dwarfs other nations in terms of origin of spam, with CipherTrust research revealing that an astonishing 56.77% of all spam comes from U.S.-based IP addresses. While CAN-SPAM was designed to decrease overall volume of spam, exact opposite has happened: in 2004, spam accounted for approximately 77% of all email traffic, and phishing attacks continue to increase exponentially, with studies showing an increase of 4000% from November 2003 to May 2004.