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Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at askleo.info.
Last week I discussed Blue Security's going out of business. I got several comments in support of their methods, mostly born out of people's frustration with spam, and that even if unethical, Blue Security had been doing something about it.
So what are the ethical ways to stop spam?
There are two schools of thought.
School one says "educate the masses." That means making sure that everyone us running anti-spyware and anti-virus software, as well as staying up to date with software patches and so on. The goal here is to rob the spammers of one of their most powerful tools: bot nets. Machines that have been compromised and have been turned into spam-sending machines referred to as zombies.
That also means educating people that they should never, EVER, purchase from or respond to spam. That really is the bottom line - if spam didn't work, then there'd be no point in sending it. Sadly, enough people do buy, that it does work.
While educating everyone as mush as is possible is critical, I still believe relying on it as "the solution" is a technique doomed to failure. The education must be continuous as things change, and even the smallest percentage of folks who don't get the message are enough for spam to continue to flourish.
I believe that the answer lies in the technology. I believe that the fundamental tools and techniques used to transmit email across the internet need to be changed and/or modified. That modification? Absolute verification of the sender. It is email's fundamental anonymity and it's ability to be spoofed that allows spam to thrive. If I could, with certainly, say "accept only mail that is guaranteed to be from who it says it is from" 90% of my spam would disappear over night. And with accountability, the other 10% could be either tracked down and silenced, or legitimately opted out of.
There are several solutions out there already that attempt to do this already. Why isn't it working? Lack of widespread adoption and, to put it bluntly, politics. Companies are attempting to use various spam fighting solutions for competitive advantage rather than the betterment of the system as a whole. Company A pushing solution Z doesn't want to accept solution Y being supported by consortium B. Spam solution provide Q would go out of business if there were a single, effective solution, so they're not likely to play along either.
Until the playing field is level, and everyone adopts the same solution, spam will continue.
But as difficult as it sounds, I believe that's still more likely than educating the masses.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10327 in the go to article number box. Leave a comment, I read them all.
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