Future Tense: Spam! A Lot!



+ Add a Comment


  One MAJOR objection I have is the often quoted " cyber-crime is now costing all of us hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars a year". Now I have never lost a cent to "cyber-crime", my kids have never lost a cent, my sisters have never lost a cent, my in-laws, my nephews, my friends. So exactly WHO is losing all this money and HOW do we "know" exactly how much is being "lost to Cyber-Crime"?

Me, I implicitly trust Symantec to tell the exact truth about how much money is actually lost. Question though, if we are losing billions of dollars a year to cyber-crime, isn't Norton and all the other Internet security programs AT FAULT? Should I sue Symantec for making a product that fails to prevent "cyber-crime" or is it all the OTHER anti-virus companies fault?

And another point. If we lose billions of dollars to cyber-crime but we spend billions of dollars for protection (which apparently we are NOT getting), which is worth MORE? I mean If I have never lost any money but am spending $150/year for my 3 computers protection, then I am LOSING MORE MONEY THAN I AM PROTECTING. It would be worth it to me to STOP buying protection!

One last question. If I WERE to lose money to cyber-crime, would I be able to get a TAX BREAK on it? I mean, if I have capital losses over losing money in poor stock buying and selling, I get a tax break. Is there a place on my 1040 tax return for "paid $30,000 to a Nigerian e-mail scammer"? How would I prove it to an IRS auditor, go to Nigeria and get a letter of payment? Now, I am a relatively honest man, but  having a $3,000 tax write-off for 10 years sounds pretty good to me!

What a crazy, freakonomic way of looking at cyber crime!



Please don't be so down on spam. It is good for the economy.

Good to see your reply to the Nigerians. Good warm-up for you. Soon you get to do that to Texas GOP as well, as they intend to make homosexuality a felony. Homosexuality, the new nigger.



I couldn't stop laughing! It's refreshing to see "famous" people with the same attitude I use when it comes to dealing with the fungus of the human race. I'm not a nice a nice man, either, with evidence of that being in my screen name. I received the name lost cause from family...

My anti-spam solution is to have multiple email addresses. I have an old, free, Juno account from back in the day that I use for junk mail, or it's the address I use when I expect to be spammed. I have other addresses I give out with various levels of trust up to my main address that not even all of my friends get. It's been very effective over the years, especially since I don't even have an email program on my pc. No need for me to download a possible problem when I can look at it online and flush it up there.


Have you ever wondered why intelligence can normally be found in an individual, but runs screaming in terror from a group? Though, there are exceptions...



If you support net neutrality, then ISPs policing their subscribers to reduce spam or stop spammers is not an option. While I hate spam as much as the next person, I am not willing to forgo neutrality to prevent it. If we want the freedom to do and see what we want on the internet without restriction, that opens the door to malicious behavior. We can't "cherry pick" what is or isn't filtered/restricted.

As for using the a peer pressure system like you mentioned, spammers could also use this approach to almost or completely DoS an ISP (and all of its associated users) by intentionally targeting AT&T, for example, by attaching to their network sending tons of spam, and having the peer ISPs downgrade AT&Ts traffic. The spammer doesn't care because they can just move on to Comcast, Mediacom, or a host of other ISPs and DoS them as well.

It would be great to be able to shut spam off at the source, but what are the trade-offs we are willing to sacrifice? The best option listed, IMHO, would be your first suggestion of a SYN/ACK type of validation to the source of the traffic, but as you mention, that could slow things down and there could be malicious uses for that very functionality.

I don't have a good solution to shutting the problem down at the source, so I do what I can to prevent or contain it at the destination. As long as anti-spam software catches the majority of the trash for C!aL!$ or V!Agr@, I am ok with the occasional Nigerian scam getting through. How can you have fun with them if you don't get those emails once in a while. ;-)



That is how it became the Phillipines favorite noon-day treat!  The fact that someone named malicious emails after a perfectly square meat product is unfortunate.

While I appreciate the author's creativity here, I must agree that SPAM is now, and will forever be, a fact of life.  The internet is a new technology (really, 20 years of common-people usage is pretty new), and it means there there are still entire generations out there who don't only not know how to use the internet, they aren't aware of the dangers inherent with internet usage, email, phishing, etc.  My grandmother only knows one kind of fishing, and it is spelled with an 'f'.

I agree with kiddcreole that net neutrality is far more important than avoiding a few annoying (and occasionally entertaining) SPAM emails.  Maybe Australia or North Korea would be interested in having ISPs filter for SPAM, but I seriously doubt that Americans would go for it if they understood the implications.



You doubt that Americans would go for it? They cheered when the Patriot act was passed.

This is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause. --Padme Amidala

You did say "if they understood the implications" but how few Americans can be bothered with understanding anything. If they understood the implications of spam, they wouldn't respond. If no Nigerian ever got money they would eventually give up. If no one bought little blue pills from a spammer they would eventually give up. If they understood the security implications of phishing they wouldn't be ripped off. I think you seriously overestimate the reasoning abilities of the general public.

Even if it means that we are exposed to the seedy underbelly of the Internet, I would take that any day over giving government any control over Internet traffic.




Im cracking up over here! I too miss messing with the Nigerians. 

 I cant help wondering. If Spam makes up 90-95% of all internet traffic then whats all this business of throttling and capping customers? I thought torrents and video streaming were monopolizing the bandwidth? 



Torrents and video streaming are sucking up bandwidth necessary for spamming. lulz

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.