vendredi 2 avril 2010

Didier Gaultier: Threats From Email Spam Is Still Strong

Last week, Jacqui Cheng from Ars Technica gave an opinionated (not in a bad way though) about the latest findings that came out of Ipsos Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG): The numbers reveal that half of Norh-Americans and Western Europeans respondents confessed that they opened a spam email intentionally. Even though some of them argue that they opened the email to put their names off the spammed list (ie unsubscribe), 15% said that they wanted to learn about the offer!! Even worse: 4% have forwarded spam to their friends :D Surprisingly, the research that led to those findings also shows that opening spam messages is not a mistake made by the elderly: Under-35-year-olds also admit to open spammy-looking emails to look what's inside.

The author of the post identifies a bigger threat behind it: Too many people are willing to give away their personal information because they think something amazing awaits them on the other side. In a former post, Jacqui Cheng covered the release of a study from Sophos unveiling that 63% of participating corporate system admins thought their company's employees were sharing way too much info online.
This could potentially put the corporate infrastructure at risk, especially if they reveal too much about the company, not to mention details about their personal identities. According to Sophos' research, this worry is justified—33.4 percent of business users have been spammed on a social networking site and 21 percent have been phished there. (23.6 percent and 27.9 percent, respectively, said that they had no idea either way. That should reallyinspire some confidence.)
This explains why some system admins sometimes decide to block social networks, preventing users from over-sharing data on sensitive public places.

The problem seems to be that everybody thinks of himself as someone who can't be duped. Therefore, a lot of people will open emails with too much confidence, and occasionally fall in the spammer's trap. Educating email users seems to be the most appropriate way to go, but even myself can't imagine the amount of work that requires. 

Bottom-line: We are all the victims of this permanent incoming threat that attacks us via our email inbox. Spam marketers are good at making us click on ads, simply because this is their jobs. There is no universal solution to this mess. The only way out would be to have only opt-in messages getting inside our inbox, and all other ones should stay out. All email providers should add this kind of plugin that lets users select from which sources they want to receive emails from. An opt-in only email inbox would be the soluton. If someone wants to send me an email, whether I send him my information, or this person should start to follow me on Twitter, and maybe in the long-run I'll know that person enough to share more personal information.

1 commentaire:

  1. If you know what is working and what isn't working on your opt-in list, you can fix it. It also helps you save time and trouble, wondering if people are getting your messages. If your messages are going into spam folders, you might want to check your wording and see if there is something else that you can write so that it isn't considered spam.

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