120 Billion Spams per Day

IronPort just released their Internet Security Trends for 2008 white paper. I haven’t read it all, but the big headline in the summary says spammers send over 120 billion (with a b) messages per day. Yep, 20 spam messages for every living person on this planet.

Remember that IronPort sells spam control products, and was bought by Cisco not long ago. However, everything else I see about spam says it’s getting far worse, not better.

I’m reading dotCrime Manifestor: How to Stop Internet Crime by Phillip Hallam-Baker right now, and the spam numbers and details in that book make me believe the 120 billion spams per day number without much problem. More on that book when I finish. Recommendations for other books of this kind are welcome.

Recommendations on handling spam are welcome as well. Between SpamAssassin on my Web/e-mail host service, and Google Mail or Thunderbird’s junk filters, I only see a handful a day. But that just means servers elsewhere are working overtime to keep my inbox relatively clean. What a waste of time. I’m not sure if security problems or spam will kill e-mail first.

One Response to 120 Billion Spams per Day

  1. Thanks for the mention, as an update, I am currently at the IETF and we had the DKIM standards meeting and the spec is pretty close to being finished (at last)

    If you are enjoying dCM you might want to take a look at The New School by Adam Shostack that is due to come out soon. Also Geekonomics which is a more comprehensive consideration of the economics of security protocol deployment. I have not yet read either but have talked to their authors and plan to.

    Unfortunately it is rather hard to stop spam, the approach we have been taking the past few years is 1) to try to reduce or remove the incentives for sending it in the first place and 2) make it easier for legitimate email senders to get their mail delivered.

    Such measures are not going to stop the tidal wave of spam we face immediately but over time we are building the tools that will make it easier to deal with the consequences. Spam is one unfortunate consequence of the lack of accountability infrastructure in the modern Internet. Technologies such as SenderID/SPF and DKIM are going to make it easier to demonstrate accountability and thus help sender and receiver meet their objectives.

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