How To Combat Spam Essay

1811 words - 8 pages

Paper how to combat spam

1. Introduction
Undoubtedly, every internet user encounters daily some form of the so called phenomenon ‘spam’. Interestingly, the term ‘spam’ is an acronym for “spiced” and “ham” and refers originally to tinned meat products. It was used in a scene from the popular British Monty Python series, showing a crowd screaming “Spam, Spam, Spam!!!” Hence, spam became a synonym of unwanted intrusive message that is usually flooding and preventing a smooth conversation. Today, first thing that comes to mind when referring to spam are the annoying undesirable commercial or junk emails that are arriving in great amounts in our email boxes. However, ‘spam’ may also be used ...view middle of the document...

4% compared to year 2000.In the light of these results, it can be concluded that spam can reach globally a vast amount of Internet users. Indeed, the figures, announced by Kaspersky Lab, show that 68% of all email trafficking in October, 2012 is spam and 3.25% are malicious emails. Such huge amounts of messages are causing major damages, the costs of which are borne by ISPs, businesses and consumers.
Spam affects ISPs by slowing down or even failing the network and indirectly resulting in defaming ISPs’s reputation. Consumers are suffering from unwanted emails, filling up their boxes, which may contain violent or vulgar materials, fraudulent advertisements, identity or bank credentials theft and malicious software. It takes time to delete all junk emails and in the process legitimate letters could be also erased. Moreover, consumers must gain certain technological knowledge in order to properly use filtering options, offered by their email providers. Furthermore, employers are paying the costs of anti-spam technology investments, storage and capacity issues of their internal servers and productivity loss of their employees. American businesses and users, for instance, are reported to mark loss of 20 $ billion annually due to spam activity (J. Rao and D. Reiley, 2012). Hence, it is of great significance for the affected parties to effectively fight spam.
There are several reasons why spam seems to be an attractive method to penetrate Internet users. Most importantly, it is economically viable to spammers. Unsurprisingly, it is not because the response rate for spam is high or spammers are realizing sails or receiving positive product responses. Direct Marketing Association as cited by K. Magill in “Email Response Rates Pathetically Low” has noted that there is only 0.12 response rate for spam that is many times lower than the ones for phone marketing, telemarketing or direct mails. The profit that spammers are realizing is only 200$ million, compared to the 20$ billion costs that the rest of the stakeholders are experiencing (J. Rao and D. Reiley, 2012). However, the costs of sending an email are virtually none. Furthermore, huge amount of emails could be sent to a large portion of population all over the world in a quick manner. Thus, nonetheless the profit realized is not impressive at all; it is still beneficial for spammers to continue their activity.
Consequently, combating spam has proved to be quite a difficult task. Spam is economically rational, costs are borne by consumers, businesses, ISPs and there is a lack of truly effective legislation worldwide. Characteristics of the Internet are also easing spammers to proceed with their activity: in practice, it is hard to trace them and they can send emails via ‘safe harbors’, meaning countries with no relevant spam regulation.
2. Theory
2.1 Technological approach:
Blacklisting (specific domain names or email accounts are blocked; disadvantage: cannot list every possible spammer),...

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