Despite an ever increasing deployment of anti-spam technologies, e-mail spam is still going strong. What technology challenges do you face in order to stay on track with the new types of spam?
Although anti-spam technology has improved enormously to prevent junk mail or spam from reaching people’s mailboxes, the industry is pitted against a foe that is at par, if not sometimes a step ahead of those designing spam filtering technologies. This is a cat-and-mouse game in which industry and spammers win some, lose some on a daily basis. Spammers are no longer interested in being a nuisance or looking to boost their egos. Today, they want a slice of a very lucrative underground market selling people’s identities and any other data that can make money.
The question we need to ask is whether the challenge is technological in nature or something harder to control – human nature. No technology is perfect and spammers will do their utmost to use these vulnerabilities to their advantage. However, it is the hard work and ability of anti-spam developers to react fast to new spam types that forces spammers to constantly seek new routes to operate in and methods to use. The challenge for developers is to come up with technology that filters new spam types as they come out and also to anticipate the spammers’ next move. This is the challenge for developers.
But developing technology is but part of the equation. The human element in email communication cannot be ignored. You can have the best anti-spam technologies around but if an end-user clicks on an email that is in the junk mail folder because he or she thinks it is important, then spammers have won another round. User education should be at the top of the list for businesses because spammers know that it is easier to fool a person than it is to bypass a spam filter.
Spam is and will continue to be a problem. It will be impossible to eradicate spam but controlling its effectiveness will depend on:
1. The anti-spam industry developing new and robust technologies as fast as possible to combat the latest spamming trends, thus reducing the effectiveness of the new spam method, and
2. End-users being told how to deal with spam and to treat emails from unknown sources or senders who never used email before (eg. banks) with extreme caution.
By subscribing to our early morning news update, you will receive a daily digest of the latest security news published on Help Net Security.
With over 500 issues so far, reading our newsletter every Monday morning will keep you up-to-date with security risks out there.