Smarter Spam Abounds, But Don't Fall For It
Even with anti-spam software on your computer and your e-mail server, spam still gets through. And there's more of it. Spam volume climbed 30% in 2006 and was estimated to account for more than 50% of all e-mails being sent, according to Symantec Corp, a Cupertino, California company that makes anti-spam software.
Spammers now outsmart anti-spam systems with new tricks. Instead of sending emails with text, which can be filtered out automatically by email server-based systems, they send emails containing pictures with words embedded in the images. This clever new form of spam now runs rampant across the Internet and floods email systems.
The proliferation of new spam techniques has been accompanied by solicitations for many new products. Most disturbing perhaps is the proliferation of stock-related spam, offering investors "the chance of a lifetime."
An Oxford University professor, Jonathan Zittrain, and a Purdue University assistant professor, Laura Frieder, recently studied spam stock schemes and reached a surprising conclusion: they work. Spammers often make a 5% to 6% return in just days. Meanwhile suckers who buy the stock-and some inevitably do-lose 7% of their investment.