Spam is now 83% of all e-mail

Yes folks, more than eight emails out of every ten sent out today on the net is SPAM. Let’s face it, SMTP really needs a replacement, and while many exist out there, the current messaging infrastructure of the Internet leaves us powerless. Solutions do exist to help you filter all that spam, but regardless of those improvements, SMTP remains at the heart of our problem. I think the time has come to stop applying band-aids and do something about the situation, but unfortunately, my guess is that we won’t see anything happening anytime soon.

It may sound like a broken record, but spam continues to do just that — break records. Unwanted commercial e-mail is growing by electronic leaps and bounds: An Internet-buckling 60 billion to 150 billion messages per day. Put another way: A whopping 83% of all e-mail comes from suspicious Internet addresses.

Still growing, spam is now 83% of all e-mail

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10 Responses to Spam is now 83% of all e-mail

  1. How many of those spams are from a single spam company (or whatever) sending out thousands (millions?) of emails, and how many are coming from compromised boxes on botnets? Pretty much all my Windows-usage is in the form of "your anti-malware software is badly outdated, and for the sake of my inbox, I am going to install up-to-date, free AV, anti-spyware, etc."

  2. How many of those spams are from a single spam company (or whatever) sending out thousands (millions?) of emails, and how many are coming from compromised boxes on botnets? Pretty much all my Windows-usage is in the form of “your anti-malware software is badly outdated, and for the sake of my inbox, I am going to install up-to-date, free AV, anti-spyware, etc.”

  3. Replacing SMTP won't help at all. Spam will afflict any communication mechanism that allows unsolicited communication. That's why there's also IM Spam, VOIP spam, blog spam, wiki spam, etc.

    Or, to put it another way, nobody has yet figured out how to redesign SMTP so as not to permit spam. If you doubt it, I would point you at the copious records of the IETF/IRTF discussions on the subject.

    • Hello Nathaniel,

      Yes, I understand your point, but what do you think of all those new "beta" protocols (or add-ons to the current SMTP protocol) that implement trust relationship between mail servers?

      Unfortunately, for these new implementations to work, organizations would need to stop accepting traffic from non-trusted sources, making the whole business of switching to a new mail transfer mechanism a real nightmare. But wouldn't this solve the problem…in part at least?

      So where does that leaves us now?

  4. Replacing SMTP won’t help at all. Spam will afflict any communication mechanism that allows unsolicited communication. That’s why there’s also IM Spam, VOIP spam, blog spam, wiki spam, etc.

    Or, to put it another way, nobody has yet figured out how to redesign SMTP so as not to permit spam. If you doubt it, I would point you at the copious records of the IETF/IRTF discussions on the subject.

    • Hello Nathaniel,

      Yes, I understand your point, but what do you think of all those new “beta” protocols (or add-ons to the current SMTP protocol) that implement trust relationship between mail servers?

      Unfortunately, for these new implementations to work, organizations would need to stop accepting traffic from non-trusted sources, making the whole business of switching to a new mail transfer mechanism a real nightmare. But wouldn’t this solve the problem…in part at least?

      So where does that leaves us now?

  5. I wish it weren't so but most of my email these days tells me I'm bald and need viagra (or equivalent). Well at least they got it half right I suppose.

    For Blog spam I've had to install askimet to keep comments down to manageable levels.

  6. I wish it weren’t so but most of my email these days tells me I’m bald and need viagra (or equivalent). Well at least they got it half right I suppose.

    For Blog spam I’ve had to install askimet to keep comments down to manageable levels.

  7. As a mail server admin for thousands of domains, I see the effects of the spam deluge firsthand. I and many others in the industry view this as largely a problem of conformance with the existing standards.

    Let's face it, the Internet itself is patches on top of Band-Aids, but if we could truly count on legitimate mail servers following all the protocols and taking proper precautions (reverse DNS, full and consistent implementation of the relevant RFCs, authenticated SMTP), we could assume anyone not following these rules is a spammer or spam zombie.

    Also, initiatives such as SPF go a long way toward addressing these problems. Again, though, it depends on people following these standards.

  8. As a mail server admin for thousands of domains, I see the effects of the spam deluge firsthand. I and many others in the industry view this as largely a problem of conformance with the existing standards.

    Let's face it, the Internet itself is patches on top of Band-Aids, but if we could truly count on legitimate mail servers following all the protocols and taking proper precautions (reverse DNS, full and consistent implementation of the relevant RFCs, authenticated SMTP), we could assume anyone not following these rules is a spammer or spam zombie.

    Also, initiatives such as SPF go a long way toward addressing these problems. Again, though, it depends on people following these standards.

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