Mar 16, 2012

Has spam become a problem of the past?

I was going through my email this morning and was shocked to see a spam email. I just looked at my gmail, and there were 418 messages in my spam folder, which is pretty much the same to me as if they don't exist. Spam filters have gotten so good that it makes me wonder why spammers bother to still spam. Things were a lot different 10-15 years ago. Am I right in thinking that spam is now a problem that has been solved (at least for the most part)? How much of an issue is spam these days?


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You might find a new feature that was just added to gmail interesting.  If you go into your gmail spam box, google now identifies the reason why each email ended up there.  It is at the top of each message, and a special red notice box warns you if the message contains dangerous links.  I just looked at one, ahem, "enhancement" spam, and Google's warning indicated that similar emails had been used to steal private information and cautioned against clicking any of the links.  I ended up spending about 10 minutes today just looking to see what triggered the spam designation on the messages in my spam folder.  ...sigh...I need to get out more. 


Perhaps not entirely a thing of the past, but spam filters have gotten very good.  I check my spam box every now and then just to make sure non-spam isn't getting filtered out, and it seems that most spam is pretty much the same as it was 10 years ago.  It doesn't seem to have evolved in the same way that malware has.  It is also a nice thought that perhaps internet users have gotten a little more sophisticated/jaded since ye olde days when, "You've got mail," was kind of a neat thing.  I would love to know how many times I marked spam as spam for yahoo, hotmail, gmail, et al over the years.  Combined with millions of other users marking hundreds of spam message, that must provide a lot of data for email providers to work with.  I would also be interested to see a breakdown of the effectiveness of spam.  While the costs of spamming are low, how high of a response rate could they possibly have?  I suppose it doesn't have to be many responses to make it worthwhile.   


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I think it's a moving target so what works today might not work tomorrow. For the most part I get very little spam, but some still makes it through. It's less aggravating in the past, but when I see a spam message I do wonder why the filter hasn't caught it.

Hopefully we'll have able to stay ahead of the curve and keep the spammers in their place. I shudder to think of what would happen if we didn't have spam filters in place. Can you imagine the mess we'd have to deal with on a daily basis in our inboxes? Ugh.
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