So if not Blue Security’s approach, then what?
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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
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
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
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
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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