Spam epidemiology: on measuring the progress toward solving the global spam

Paul Judge CipherTrust
Phyllis A. Schneck CipherTrust

While the headlines have continuously cited for nearly two years the increasing volume of spam sent daily, we argue that the war actually is almost over. Historically, before a war is officially over there is a key turning point which leads to the end. In the war on spam, we can show that we have reached that turning point. This is supported by data from more than 1,000 enterprises as well as some of the world's largest spammers. To support this we first define the problem of spam, including not only the obvious symptoms but also the root cause. People send spam not for fame or notoriety, but simply for profit. We present a formula for a cure which reverses the profit model of spammers not by directly charging for emails, but rather with a combination of anti-spam protection technologies, user education, and legislation. In this paper, we holistically examine the efforts along these fronts, provide a progress report, and outline the roadmap for ending the war.


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