The Battle against Spam: According to an April Report by the Federal Trade Commission, Two-Thirds of All Spam Is Deceptive in Some Way

By Conhaim, Wallys W. | Information Today, October 2003 | Go to article overview

The Battle against Spam: According to an April Report by the Federal Trade Commission, Two-Thirds of All Spam Is Deceptive in Some Way


Conhaim, Wallys W., Information Today


One of every two e-mails is spam, according to a July study by Brightmail, Inc., an anti-spam software company based in San Francisco. Two years ago, spam accounted for only 8 percent of e-mail messages, the company says. AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis testified go Congress in May that the amount of spam doubles every 4 to 6 months.

Unsolicited e-mails used to be a mild annoyance and an inconvenience. A little filtering for such tip-off words as "free," "bargain," "congratulations," and "low rates" would handle most of it, and you could delete the rest. Now, the huge volume of mailings, the nature of their content, the deceptive practices used by some of the mailers, and the debilitating viruses carried in unwanted mail absolutely require that action be taken.

Spammers Are Scammers

According go an April report by the Federal Trade Commission, two-thirds of all spam is deceptive in some way. The illusion given in subject lines that the sender somehow knows the recipient, the false return e-mail addresses, the disparity between subject lines and the actual subject of the message, and the misleading claims of business or vacation opportunities all may violate existing state or federal laws, the FTC claims.

Spammers employ software that harvests e-mail addresses from unsuspecting Internet users who post messages to newsgroups, participate in chats, or register for e-marl newsletters. They also get the addresses from company servers or purchase them from legitimate mailing-list brokers.

Some spammers have become hackers, breaking into unsecured home or institutional servers and sending spam from these unsuspecting locations. MessageLabs says that 70 percent of all spam is distributed via such hacking. An Aug. 19 report by MSNBC's Bob Sullivan quoted a former spammer who used to send out 10 million spam messages a day. He said that he had go send 500,000 an hour to earn any money. Spammers get around existing filters by deliberately misspelling keywords or tricking software that scans for spam content.

Some spammers have gone into identity theft, posing as major marketers. They use "phisher" tactics that actively steal personal data such as Social Security and credit card numbers from unsuspecting customers who fill out order forms. I recently received one such e-mail about an "expired" credit card, supposedly from PayPal, and would have taken it seriously had I not been working on this article at the time. Other legitimate marketers who have been victims of this scam are AOL, BestBuy.com, Citibank, and EarthLink.

With spam also spreading viruses, such as the recent Sobig.F that slowed the whole Internet in mid-August and even briefly shut down computers at The New York Times, antivirus manufacturers, including McAfee, NetworkAssociates, Norton, and Symantec, are incorporating spam-detection features into their products,

Battle Heats Up

Only a year ago, most discussion about the junk e-mail problem concentrated on what consumers could do to filter spam at the receiving end. Now, powerful armies of leading ISPs, corporations, state legislatures, Congress, the courts, and yes, even the Direct Marketing Association, are focusing on the senders.

According to a 2002 study by Ferris Research, the junk mail problem is costing business $8.9 billion annually and angering consumers of Internet services (http:// www.ferris.com/url/spammkt.html).

Proposed laws include requiring a message's subject to reflect its contents, creating opt-out lists, banning Internet mining for addresses, outlawing false headers, and requiring "ADV" labels on ad e-mail. About half the states now have some kind of anti-spam legislation. Rivals AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! have formed an alliance to curb spam.

Tim Muris, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, has said that several proposed legislative solutions would be ineffective because they're not strict enough. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Battle against Spam: According to an April Report by the Federal Trade Commission, Two-Thirds of All Spam Is Deceptive in Some Way
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.