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Image Spam Almost Disappears: IBM

September 3, 2008

With graphics turned off by default in most e-mail inboxes, spammers have apparently adjusted—as they always do—and have begun sending far fewer image-based messages, according to a recent study by IBM.

“The complex spam of 2007 (image-based spam, file attachment spam, etc.) has almost disappeared, and now spammers are using simple URL spam,” said the IBM X-Force report.

According to IBM, 90% of the spam sent in the first half of 2008 consisted of a few simple words and a URL, making it difficult for spam filters to detect.

E-mail inbox providers have been increasingly blocking graphics and links by default to protect subscribers from malware, viruses and unwanted pornographic images typically sent by spammers. The tactic—while understandable—has caused havoc with marketers’ attempts to design enticing messages. It has also rendered the so-called “open rate” almost useless as a metric. An “open” is registered when the receiving computer calls for images from the sending machine.

In other findings, Russia continues to be the origin of most spam, according to IBM. Russia is responsible for 11% of the world's spam, followed by Turkey with 8%, then the United States with 7.1%.

Author:  Ken Magill


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