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Risk

5/14/2008
11:47 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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McAfee Spam Experiment Results: Spam Is Bad And There's Lots Of It

All spam all the time -- that's what volunteers for McAfee's Global S.P.A.M (Spammed. Persistently. All. Month.) experiment looked for, and that's what they got when they turned in their brand-new, completely unprotected machines and opened themselves to the deluge.

All spam all the time -- that's what volunteers for McAfee's Global S.P.A.M (Spammed. Persistently. All. Month.) experiment looked for, and that's what they got when they turned in their brand-new, completely unprotected machines and opened themselves to the deluge.The month-long experiment, which I wrote about here wrapped up recently, and while the results are not entirely (or even really) surprising, the S.P.A.M. project did generate some good reading, particularly in the blogs the participants were asked to write.

Here, for one example, is part of the final entry from Tracy, a Chicago realtor:

"We started with a brand new computer that was lightning fast. We end with a computer that takes a long time to open even the simplest of webpages and I fear may be tracking every keystroke and page we visit. I cant wait to find out what is on this puppy!"

What's on the fifty computers the volunteers were issued includes 120,000 spams (11,000 of which were received by one volunteer.)

My favorite incident in the experiment, though, was the finding, related in this Avert Labs blog that some volunteers actually started using McAfee's spam-alert SiteAdvisor to go out and look for sites likely to generate spam.

An interesting month that reminds us of what we all, alas, know all too well -- thirty years after the first spam this unwanted gift keeps on giving -- and growing.

Future S.P.A.M experiments may include mobile and IM spam -- we'll keep you posted.

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