Some estimates of Internet mail traffic put spam around 80% of all emails being sent. My personal knowledge for several very large corporations show that number to be low as I’ve seen numbers anywhere from just above 80% to as much as 97% of incoming mail being marked or dropped due to spam.
It will be interesting to continue checking spam logs as Robert Alan Soloway, a 27 year old spam king, was arrested this past Wednesday and has been accused of sending billions upon billions of spam emails using technology known as botnets. Botnets have become popular with spammers over the past few years and are software robots that are relayed commands by a Bot server to send spam. The largest known botnet had 1.5 million nodes. These nodes are made up of compromised computers usually of home owners with high speed Internet.
A Microsoft lawyer said Robert Soloway is one of Internet’s top ten spammers. Unfortunately, businesses would contract Robert to drive more traffic to their web sites. While this is a legitimate business in itself, the spam king would spam his collected addresses unbeknowst to the client.
How can the average home Internet consumer protect themselves? First you need to understand how the spammers gain your information. Spammers get email addresses by buying your name from a list, opt-in lists, email extractors which scour the web, brute force attacks called MX server extractors, viruses, spyware and malicous code. To protect your primary email address, use a separate email address from Yahoo! or Google for posting to sites or in forums. Never post anything on the Internet with an email address you don’t want spammed. Opt-in to lists sparely and to sources you trust like Yahoo!, Amazon and Gizmos for Geeks. Finally, protect your machine with antivirus utilities and spyware utilities. Your machine will run slower and you’ll have to pay for yearly service, but that is the cost of playing on the Internet. You can protect your machine by not loading software downloaded off the Internet or sent to you in email unless you are positively sure the downloaded application or game is valid and spyware free.