CRN recently reported on a research from internet security vendor Marshal that found out of the 622 users polled 29.1% admitted to having purchased items through spam emails.
I seriously hope this was just a particularly ignorant group of Internet users. Okay, now hear this; Buying stock through spam email amounts to lighting a match to your hard-earned cash. There is no magic pill to make your penis bigger or make you better in bed. Buying crap through spam encourages spammers to spam more. In other words, don’t do it! Those of us with a clue will thank you, if we don’t cuff you first.
We get spam because it is profitable for the spammer. If people were not buying the junk, we would not get nearly so much. It is simple economics.
Something that has been known for quite some time is that email is fundamentally broken. The very thing that makes it so resilient is what makes it so vulnerable. Anyone can toss up an email server and spew spam. Spammers learned early on that admins could just filter their server. Botnets were cultivated with the unwary zombie owners spewing more spam making it impossible to block all the machines spewing spam.
Largely, everything we do to defend against spam is passive. It is profitable for both the spammers and anti-spam companies. Bayesian and Heuristic filtering, blacklists, greylists, ORBS, RTBL, are all methods of blocking spam, yet for all of this, the stuff worms its way through. Companies spend billions on blocking spam yearly.
Blue security tried to be aggressive in its tactics with Blue Frog software. They formed a community-based anti-spam system, which automated the complaint process for each user that received spam. Their method was to go after the companies that the spammers were pimping, using email, or contact forms or even order forms to send in complaints and requests not to spam members on the Blue Security Do Not Intrude Registry. For every member that got a spam email, they sent a request to use Blue Security’s free tools to purge their spam lists of members. Unfortunately, spammers targeted Blue Security with a DDoS attack that shut down their servers. Rather than continue to escalate a war with spammers, Blue Security folded their anti-spam operation.
It is unlikely that we will ever convince the masses that they should not buy the junk that spammers spew. There will always be some sucker that will buy whatever is put in front of them. It is also so cheap to spam that it makes perfect sense, if you have no scruples.