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Spam – More Expensive Than You Thought!

9 February 2009 by Stephen McNamara

Spam emails, we all get them, every day in fact and they are very annoying but did you realise just how big a problem they really are?

Let’s starts with some astonishing facts. Cisco calculated that last year 120 billion spam messages were sent daily worldwide. That was double the previous year. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that at least 80% of all emails sent are spam.

In November 2008 the global volume of spam mail decreased by at least 50% when a naughty ISP called McColo was forced to close down and around 83% of all spam emails in 2007 contained a URL link to a malware spouting website.

Hmmm, abundant nasty stuff.

We have all learnt to be wary of unsolicited emails but the cybercriminals continually reinvent their ruses to try and catch us out. Most recently they have latched onto the popularity of social networking sites to try to entice victims in. “My name’s Candy, I’m 19, blonde and I think you’re hot. Add me as a friend”, you get the picture.

So what should we do to guard against Candy’s hidden delights?

Rule one: common sense. If it is unsolicited get rid. The size of your manhood is perfectly fine anyway.

Rule two: recognise the tell tail signs. If it’s pharmaceuticals, lottery wins, Nigerian bank accounts or hot 19 year olds it’s not for you (face it you’re too old anyway!). Delete.

Rule three: spam filters. Configure your email to siphon off the dodgy looking messages. Get them bagged off in a folder marked ‘nice try’.

Rule Four: get anti-spam software for your PC. Load up on some spam busting kit to stop the nasty beggars even getting to your inbox.

And if you are a business, don’t forget the importance of addressing your spam issue. Time for some more startling stats.

In Australia, losses from wasted personnel time and bandwidth usage due to spam are estimated to have cost business A$2 billion a year in 2007. Again in 2007, the California legislature found that spam cost US organisations more than $13 billion. And, University of Iowa research in 2004 concluded that US business lost almost 6,000 work days per year because of staff dealing with spam.

So spam is dangerous and highly resource consuming. To avoid the costly effects of spam get prepared. Be ready to delete on sight and install up to date anti-spam software. Don’t underestimate it and don’t risk it.