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Menace of Image-based Spam Spreads

In UK, a study by PineApp of 400 companies has revealed that almost 97% respondents have the anti-spam software, half of which are not able to cope up with the emerging problem of image-based spam. Moreover, image spam is estimated to be 50% of the total spam which stands as a great threat for the companies due to lack of safety.

The survey also uncovered two huge problems caused by the inability to handle the image-based spam- storage and the burden of bandwidth. That is because of the fact that the typical image-based spam is 3 times larger than that of a regular spam message.

Further, around 37% said that the amount of space an image spam occupies is a major problem while 48% said that the bandwidth is real problem. Other issues which came forth are loss of productivity (36%), legal consequences (32%), increase exposure to malware (42%), end user frustration (44%) and finally 27% of respondents complain that all of these pose a threat for them. Shockingly, 1% of respondents claim image-based spam poses no problems for them at all.

UK sales and marketing director at PineApp, Steve Cornish, said that no doubt attaching images like .gif or .bmp files which contains unwanted stuff with mails is not at all new but it has picked up a tremendous pace as it is not handled effectively. He added these spammers always look for an opportunity to surpass the anti-spam software viz. attaching PDF files and they struggle a lot to maintain this, as per the news by Scmagazine on July 25, 2007.

Generally, the material of image-based spam contains penny stock 'pump & dump' schemes or other harmful and fake type of spam. The typical anti-spam software (Bayesian, URL Filtering, Heuristic) are unable to stop these type of spam on a regular basis.

In January 2007, the research carried out by Marshall disclosed that image spam was always high accounting for more than half of total spam (56%). The increment in the amount of image spam comes with a decrease in spam that contains integrated clickable URL links. In 2004, almost 96% spam were containing a website hyperlink which urges the user to click and found out more about the product which is displayed. However, till the early 2007, the amount of spam, which has the clickable URLs, has decreased to 55%.

Related article: Mango Airline Cautions Customers of New E-mail Scam

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