Feeds

The meaning of spam

Users divided over definition

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Businesses in the US and UK agree that spam is a problem, but according to MessageLabs many users cannot reach a consensus on its definition.

According to MessageLabs' recent survey, an average of 15 percent of e-mails received by businesses contain spam. One third of the respondents to the UK survey said that spam was currently a problem and three quarters of the respondents expected it to become a problem in the future.

Meanwhile, over 50 percent of the respondents to the US survey said that spam represents 30 percent of their daily e-mail load. Furthermore, around half of those questioned who had spam-filtering technology in place said that it was "ineffective" or "very ineffective."

Despite this deluge of unsolicited mail, approximately 58 percent of those questioned in the US said that they do not want to get rid of spam altogether, but need a better way to filter the messages they want from the messages that they would like to block.

"The problem is not only that it gets through, but that firms don't know how to define it," explained Jos White, marketing director at e-mail security development firm MessageLabs. "With viruses it is easy, but one man's spam is potentially another's useful information." Filtering is difficult to implement because users are unable to agree on a definition of spam, MessageLabs claimed.

According to the survey, 90 percent of UK respondents said that spam was promotional or marketing e-mail from someone they did not know, whereas 89 percent said that it was an e-mail containing information clearly irrelevant to their work. Eighty-one percent said it was news or information from someone they didn't know and 71 percent considered it to be an e-mail they did not request, regardless of content or sender.

Only 29 percent said that a promotional e-mail from an organisation they know was spam, with only 12 percent saying the same for news or information from a source they recognised. In contrast nearly a third defined a mass circulation business e-mail from within the company as spam.

The survey was carried out among 160 UK IT directors and managers and 200 general business managers across the US.

© ENN.

Related link

The Real meaning of Spam - the Official Spam web site

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.