McAfee Security offers several tips for businesses to reduce the number of unwanted messages entering employee email inboxes. According to leading analyst firms, spam will account for as much as 25% of all email messages through 2002, and nearly 76 billion unwanted commercial email messages will be delivered over the Internet in the year 2003.
But let's not forget that spam is not just a nuisance: spam wastes network bandwidth, processing power, disk space and employee time. According to Gartner Inc., lost productivity due to spam costs U.S. organizations $1 billion a year.
The increase in spam also raises security concerns to corporate networks since most viruses and malicious code are transmitted via email. Internet borne viruses such as "Loveletter" and "Nimda" propagate via email at an alarming rate causing billions of dollars worth of damage.
"As a leading anti-virus vendor, Network Associates is aware of the associated security and legal risks that spam brings to corporate networks," said Chris Christiansen, program vice president for IDC's Security Products and Infrastructure Software. "McAfee Security offers a viable solution to the growing threat of spam-based, email viruses."
Network Associates advises all Internet users, from corporations to consumers, to conduct safe emailing practices and recommends the following tips:
- Use an alternate email address while online. Setup an alternate, or "public," email address for use when participating in newsgroups, joining contests or for responding to any third-party requests online.
- Refrain from using the "reply" or "remove" option. Some senders may remove the address, but others may flag the email address as "live" and send more spam or sell the address to other spammers. Instead, forward spam to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com.
- Limit Internet usage at work. Do not access sites that are not business related when at work or on the corporate network such as message boards, e-trade sites, Internet auctions, e-commerce sites, etc.
- Beware of purchasing spam-advertised products. Responding to this type of email makes more personally identifiable information (e.g. name, address, phone number or credit card numbers) available to spammers, which can lead to increased spam.