Thursday, November 29, 2007

A turn in the spam war

The volume of junk e-mail transmitted worldwide is still enormous. But a remarkable trend is underfoot, according to Brad Taylor, a staff software engineer at Google: The number of spam attempts -- that is, the number of junk messages sent out by spammers -- is flat, and may even be declining for the first time in years.

Google won't disclose numbers, but the company says that spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year. That could indicate that some spammers have gotten discouraged and have stopped trying to get through Google’s spam filters. ...

E-mail providers like Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft's Hotmail use sophisticated filtering algorithms that are constantly updated based on spam reports from individual users. Google says it can delete all instances of a single spam message across the Gmail network in seconds.
--Betsy Schiffman, Wired, on a turn in the war against spam

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