With over 130 billion spam emails sent each day, your inbox is constantly being bombarded by spam. That’s something like 18.5 billion pieces of email spam per person on the planet. We are all practically swimming in email spam, but what do you know about who is actually sending it?
Brian Krebs – former Washington Post reporter and award-winning writer about cyber security – was recently on NPR’s program Fresh Air to talk about email spam and where it comes from. What he had to say might surprise you.
A lot of the spam you get probably doesn’t appear to look “professional,” so you might think that there’s some kid in his basement trying to spread havoc around the web by blasting out malicious emails. Be careful, though, because it’s dangerous to underestimate your opponent.
In the interview, Krebs tells the story of two huge senders of spam which were based in Russia. These were real companies that had a real business model. They would send out large quantities of spam emails attempting to sell prescription drugs. When someone would make a purchase through one of the emails, the spam company would be paid about a 30% commission on the price of the prescription drugs bought.
(Side note: Yes, apparently there are people who actually purchased prescription drugs from spammers. Krebs found that people who purchased drugs through these emails almost always received the drugs – and also started receiving a lot more spam and even got phone calls with companies trying to sell them more drugs.)
Krebs was clued into the details of these businesses when someone leaked to him private records and communications from one of the companies. The communications he received were very matter-of-fact, day-to-day running of a business sort of stuff… except it was all about spam. At one point the spammers apologized to their client because the botnet used to send out the spam was temporarily down. It’s almost surreal to see the other side of the email spam.
The two large spam companies Krebs talks about took each other down, but new spammers quickly took their place. As long as there are inboxes in the world, there will be illegal spammers trying to make money.
What you can do about spam
Spam is a real industry, with businesses that continue to innovate to try gain a competitive edge and get into your inbox. Your email security needs to innovate, too, to stop you from getting flooded with spam. There’s more to email security than simply stopping spam, however.
It’s actually not that hard to keep spam out of your inbox; what’s hard is keeping spam out while letting the good stuff in. Depending on the email filter, any email could incorrectly be classified as spam. There are some, however, that are more likely than others to be unjustly banished to the spam folder. Here are a few types of emails that tend to fall prey to spam filters:
- Tax documents
- Health records
- Court notices
These “false positives” are a result of “content filtering” run amok. Content filters scan the content of an email and use an algorithm to decide if it is spam or not. In order to keep spam out, email content filtering settings get cranked up so high that some legitimate emails get caught in the filter, too. Sendio, though, does things differently.
It filters your emails based on the contact instead of the content to more stop all spam while eliminating false positives. To find out why contact filtering is superior to content filtering and how it eliminates false positives, read our whitepaper titled “Email Security’s Insider Secrets.”
To learn how Sendio can help your business eliminate spam without generating any false positives, call (949) 274-4375.