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29% of Web Users Purchase From Spam, Says Marshal

According to a new research conducted recently by an Internet security firm Marshal, 29% of people on the Internet have bought items from spam messages. The most popularly bought goods include audit material, software, luxury items like jewelry, clothing and watches, and sexual enhancement drugs.

Marshal's research received 622 responses with 29.1% of respondents saying that they had bought items advertised via spam mails. The poll also revealed that the rate of purchases from spam mails had increased in contrast to another similar survey by Forrester Research in 2004, when it polled 6,000 active Internet users and revealed that 20% had bought from spam mails.

Security specialists said that the rise in spam purchases in the recent years has resulted in a drastic inflow of spam mails. The worldwide spam volumes increased twofold for the twelve months ending June 2008 over the previous year's level.

Also, according to the study, over 150 Billion spam mails circulate every day on the Internet, accounting for over 85% of all outgoing e-mails across the world. And due to this high rate of spam, a big proportion of bandwidth is consumed that continues to be a major security problem.

In spite of that, there is hardly any incentive to stop the spam. Recently, when FBI prosecuted bot-herders, it found that the current rate of earnings from spam was $5-$10 per Million e-mails. Response rates are commonly low - about 10 purchases take place per million spam mails; however, enough purchases are made through spam, inspiring spammers to attack people's inboxes with junk.

According to Michael Whitehurst, Vice-President of Global Support, the survey highlights an unpleasant truth. While a large number of people buy items from spam, spammers find sending spam messages a profitable and worthwhile endeavor, as reported by DarkReading on August 19, 2008.

Moreover, Bradley Anstis, Vice-President of Products at Marshal, said that although statistics show that the purchasing numbers through spam is less than 10 per 10 Million messages, most spam is stopped at filters, implying that a much higher number of users actually do respond.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 8/30/2008

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