Living with the internet: Keeping it safe
Living with the internet: Keeping it safe

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Living with the internet: Keeping it safe

7.5 The spread of spam

A staggering 25 per cent of all incoming mail messages to the Open University in February 2004 were marked as spam by our automated spam filter. Is this a problem that is getting worse?

There are companies that act as filtering agents for email; they check and stop viruses, spam and pornography.

  • Do, using the link below, look at the proportion of messages that one such company, Messagelabs, has blocked in the last 12 months.


(Hint: Follow links to Threat Statistics > Spam Intercepts.)

On the website you can also choose to look at the proportion of viruses in mail messages.

Do these figures show the problem getting worse or better over the last year?

Remember that Messagelabs has a vested interest in highlighting the spam problem. The graph below shows some results from a different source (possibly equally biased). You can see from this graph that the growth of spam has more than tripled in just over a year.

Figure 6
(Source: Brightmail [accessed June 2003])
Figure 6 A bar chart titled 'Unique Spam Attacks (as measured by Brightmail's Probe Network).'

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