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May 192007

Just fixed the scripts that create (and update) my spam report. I decided long ago not to block spam (previously it was difficult to block it properly because of how email was setup; I could properly block it now but it would ruin the report), so I could produce an archive of spam and do some basic analysis on the content. I’ve been running the report a few years now (the oldest spam in hand dates to roughly June 2003) and it now shows the expected trends … the number of spams is growing and the size of each spam message is growing (because many these days are image spams).

Apart from the existence of spammers themselves (if they were to vanish overnight, nobody would mourn), there are two major contributions to the spam problem :-

  • People unwittingly providing the spammers with massive supercomputer with an enormous amount of network bandwidth available. Almost every
    spam you and I get has been sent via someone’s infected computer. If you don’t have a router between your computer and the internet,
    buy one online in the next 15 minutes. Whilst there are other things you can (and should) do to make your computer more secure, a router is
    probably the biggest single thing you can do.
  • ISPs who don’t bother to deal with infected machines. In the old days, if you were to warn a network administrator that they had a machine
    with a possibly dangerous infection sending large quantities of network traffic, they would move heaven and earth to fix the problem. Today
    an unfortunate number of ISPs would rather let the spam go through than possibly annoy a customer.
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