This morning my email inboxes in two of the five email services that I use, held a surprise for me once again, with an email from myself. As always, I simply deleted this spoofed spam email along with the other unsolicited junk mail.
The spoofed spam reminded me of an experiment being run by McAfee Inc., a world leader in antivirus, firewall, and Internet security software. McAfee began soliciting for volunteers in December 2007 and selected 50 of them to participate in a test in which the volunteers will have to respond to every unsolicited email mail they receive over a thirty day test period, beginning today.
Their laptops, supplied by McAfee, will operate without active anti-spam protection so that McAfee can test the theory that spam email is linked to cyber crime. Personally, I think that’s a no-brainer; so why bother with a test.
McAfee’s view however, as expressed by Christopher Bolin, McAfee’s chief technology officer is “Spam isn’t just a nuisance. It’s a tool used by cyber criminals to steal personal and business data. And, as scammers become more adept at writing spam in local languages it’s becoming more difficult for Internet users to detect spam. It’s vital that computer users understand the risks of leaving their computers unprotected.”
It seems to me, given the fact that spam exists in many forms including instant messaging spam, Web search engine spam, Blog spam, cell phone messaging spam, and more, that focusing on a narrow definition of what constitutes spam, has little relative value.
So I’m skeptical about the significance of this type of experiment given what we already know about spam, malware attacks in all its various forms, and the known connection to cyber criminals. However, I’m a curious fellow and I’ll follow the research, and the results obtained, with interest.
If you’re interested, you can visit McAfee/Spam Experiment to track the daily progress of the S.P.A.M. Experiment and read Blog reports from the test participants.
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