User Ignorance To Blame For Spam

Chief among users' sins is clicking on links in spam messages. Some 31% of respondents reported clicking on the links other than "unsubscribe" links.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

March 23, 2005

1 Min Read

If you're looking for someone to blame for all that spam in your in-box, look no further than the face reflected in your computer screen. A new survey finds that users' behavior sustains the spam economy. The survey was conducted by Mirapoint Inc., a maker of E-mail server and security appliances, and the Radicati Group, a messaging market-research firm.

"Major advancements in technology approaches that routinely achieve 90%-plus catch-rates are becoming widely available, yet no technology in the world can protect an organization if users exercise bad E-mail behavior," Marcel Nienhuis, an analyst at the Radicati Group, said in a statement.

Chief among users' sins is clicking on links in spam messages. Some 31% of respondents report clicking on the links other than "unsubscribe" links. To spammers, this merely confirms an active E-mail account, which leads to continued spamming. And to make matters worse, clicking on embedded links may open the door to malicious code that can spread throughout an organization, or they may lead directly to phishing sites.

Clicking on "unsubscribe" links doesn't appear to be much better. Eighteen percent of those surveyed have tried to "unsubscribe" from spammers' lists. While such links may be legally required under the Can-Spam Act, they're widely believed to be misused.

And over 10% of those answering the survey admit to having purchased a product advertised in spam. Thanks to such economic support, in-boxes are sure to be well-stocked with spam for some time to come.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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