October 09, 2008, 11:49 AM — Ferris Research, the mail and messaging specific research group, made plenty of noise not long ago when they said there will be 40 trillion (with a T) spam messages sent this year. They can predict fairly accurately, since 30 trillion spams went out last year.
ComputerWorld did a nice story called Spam Filters: Making Them Work relying on the Ferris numbers. However, the lesson we should learn is buried deeper in the details: spam is no longer a nuisance that clogs inboxes, it's a security issue. The majority of spam messages now try to breach security on the computer reading the message, or redirect the user to a Web site full of malware etc.
Letting users handle spam on their own won't work, because users don't often think critically before clicking embedded links. In fact, you may have a chore just explaining embedded links to some coworkers. And those pictures of cute little kittens can load a system full of botnets just as easily as the spam messages full of porn links.
Stop spam as far away as possible to reduce the load on your e-mail server. Search for â€œspam filtering serviceâ€ and you'll get more than a million (really) results. A few dollars per month per user costs far less than one security breach. Actually, a few dollars per user per month costs less than many of the on premise spam control products, especially for small companies with 25 or fewer users.
Remember how Congress was going to save us from the spam scourge? Read CAN-SPAM: What Went Wrong? at Network World and see how Congress did their usual job: sold us out to large companies. Has that become Congress' motto now: profits before privacy? Certainly seems that way.