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Clearswift Spam Index: Spam Gets Serious; With Porn Still in the Doldrums
[August 09, 2005]

Clearswift Spam Index: Spam Gets Serious; With Porn Still in the Doldrums

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Aug. 9, 2005 -- Spammers appear to be switching from sales tactics to scare tactics this month, according to Clearswift's Spam Index, the tech industry's most in-depth analysis of unsolicited e-mails. For the first time, e-mails promoting goods associated with personal or family safety have made a curious appearance in our inboxes.

This month, spammers seem to be exploiting a variety of our fears in order to persuade users to take up their spurious offers. For those afraid of the unknown, "stranger danger," or what might happen to their possessions once they leave their homes, this new wave of e-mails now offer a range of security kits, emblazoned with alarmist headlines are becoming widespread. Subject lines such as "Protect your child from sex offenders! Download now!" and "You can't see it, but it can see you" are attempting to awaken us from the run-of-the-mill spam we're used to seeing.

Gullible PC users can even download e-guides full of advice claiming to protect their children from the world of drugs.

"Historically, spammers have generally tried to lure us in under the false pretence that they are trying to help, offering antidepressants, enhancement pills, and cheap loans," said Clearswift's Director of Research, Alyn Hockey. "This shift toward a very calculated attempt to frighten consumers into making purchases is very well timed. There is something ironic in spammers offering users security products when unsolicited e-mail is often used in the proliferation of viruses, phishing scams and spyware -- three of the most popular security threats."

As identified in the last Spam Index, porn continues to take a back seat (3.6% of all e-mails), while financial spam and suspect healthcare offers are still at the top of the spam charts -- making up 36% and 40% of all unsolicited e-mails respectively. The bizarre canine products have all but disappeared completely, save the occasional offer for ridding carpets of pet hair, and e-mails purporting to be from PayPal are becoming more popular, making up a sizeable proportion of scams.

Software spam is also on the rise (at 31% of all product spam), which is unsurprising following news that Microsoft software packages have been rated amongst the world's most counterfeited products.

Clearswift strangest spam of the month

"Don't throw your money down the drain! Is your septic system acting up? Avoid costly septic system repairs with an easy once a month solution!"

About the Spam Index

The spam categorization statistics were extracted from the millions of spam e-mails harvested by Clearswift's seed accounts on a weekly basis. They are collated and analyzed using Clearswift's spamActive service, which is an integral component of the multi-layered anti-spam protection offered by MIMEsweeper for SMTP 5.1. Updated eight times daily, spamActive routinely extracts spam terms, sender domains, URLs and subject lines, which can be automatically downloaded to update customers' e-mail policies.

About Clearswift

Clearswift secures content and protects against digital attacks by enforcing security policies that increase productivity, reduce IT costs and create a safer business environment. Its world-leading business is founded on providing Total Content Security for e-mail and Web.

The Internet is an invaluable business tool, but with it comes a harrowing collection of threats. Protecting against the circulation of inappropriate images and text, spam, breaches of confidentiality, and viruses is now mission critical.

Clearswift enables organizations to protect themselves against digital attacks, meet legal and regulatory requirements, implement productivity-saving policies and manage intellectual property passing through their network.

About MIMEsweeper(TM) for SMTP 5.1

MIMEsweeper for SMTP 5.1 is the most comprehensive enterprise-class e-mail content security solution available in the market, delivering the best scalability and robustness anywhere. It is a best-of-breed solution that counters all content security threats -- spam, viruses, worms, Trojan horses and DOS attacks, while allowing companies to remain compliant and meet best practice standards.

MIMEsweeper allows consistent policy definition and enforcement, through automated policy replication. This new version incorporates a "roles-based" approach to administration too, moving mail management from back office to the front office. This allows, for example, the HR department -- rather than IT -- to implement company mail policy on, say, profanity, sexism or racism. Its unique approach to system management allows for hierarchical devolvement of duties to multiple administrators. IT managers can delegate specific responsibilities, such as server monitoring, access to particular quarantine areas and reporting, to the most appropriate administrators or department, therefore spreading the load of administration and significantly reducing the time it takes to process blocked e-mails.

About e-Sweeper(TM)

e-Sweeper is a managed e-mail content security solution for service providers. Experienced professionals handle protection from content threats at the e-mail gateway, freeing the organization from the cost of implementing the hardware, software and administration expertise necessary to effectively stop the myriad of content security threats.

Clearswift, MAILsweeper, MIMEsweeper, spamActive and ENTERPRISEsuite are trademarks or registered trademarks, in the United States, United Kingdom and certain other countries, of Clearswift Limited. Additional company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the individual companies and are respectfully acknowledged.

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