Climbing Spam Mountain

Porn spammers target consumers

Pornographic spam rose slightly last month, while financially-related unsolicited messages became marginally less of a problem.

That's according to monthly statistics from spam filtering firm Brightmail which reports adult spam rose one per cent to 12 per cent in October while financial spam decreased slightly to 36 per cent last month, from 38 per cent in September. Product pushes (31 per cent) made up the majority of other spam messages, with email scams (such as 419 frauds) making up only four per cent of unsolicited messages.

Overall, spam levels increased. Brightmail recorded (pdf) 5.285 million unique spam attacks over the course of last month, compared to just over five million in August. A year ago Brightmail's probe network monitored less than 1.7 million such attacks.

Spam filtering specialist Brightmail currently serves six of the main 10 ISPs in the States, and recently signed a deal with MSN to filter spam before it reaches Hotmail in-boxes. BTOpenworld recently signed an agreement with Brightmail to provide a free anti-virus and anti-spam service to its customers.

Statistics from rival message file firm MessageLabs tell a similar story of rising spam. Almost one in six (13.3 million) of the 80.6 million message scanned by its spam-blocking service turned out to be unsolicited commercial email. However only one in 3,418 messages its scanned turned out to be porn spam, a low figure reflecting MessageLabs focus on selling services to enterprises. Porn spammers tend to target consumers, experience shows. ®

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