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Davidson County Facing Spam Forced to Overhaul E-mail

Spam and fraudulent e-mails piled up on the e-mail system of the Davidson County led to frustration among employees, slow down in its Internet network, and eventually forcing the government to transform its e-mail system.

In just one month (December 2007), 4,977,000 e-mails arrived in the inboxes of 800 addresses of Davidson County government. Of that total e-mail, 97% was junk e-mail or spam equivalent of 200 spam messages per person in a single day for each day of December 2007.

Even in November 2007, there were around four million spam mails reaching e-mail addresses of Davidson County. Although the County has deployed filters and other security mechanisms to help restrict spam, the problem still persists for the IT professionals and in their maintenance of the network.

Moreover, junk e-mails are an increasing problem for both users and security providers globally. According to security provider SoftScan, spam levels worldwide reached 97.02% in the last month of 2007 and virus laced 0.11% of the total e-mail traffic.

Member of the IT department of Davidson County, Joel Hartley, said about the spam menace that it not only slowed down their Internet performance but also slowed down their internal network. Employees using the government e-mail system are not always responsible for this. Rather, Hartley thinks the ready availability of the County government's e-mail addresses on their website could be partly responsible. Bot programs could seize the addresses from the website, which then become available to spammers, Hartley explained in a statement that Thedispatch published on January 4, 2008.

Besides changing all its 800 e-mail addresses, Davidson County has also adopted precautionary measures by posting a special contact form to its website. This form would let people send e-mails to the appropriate addresses. The County plans to phase out all the old e-mail Ids by March 2008.

Security officials of the county said that people who try to e-mail at the earlier addresses might find a return message telling them about a change in those addresses.

In similar other instances, the cities of Thomasville and Lexington spent valuable resources and time last year to fight unnecessary spam.

Related article: Davidson’s Database Falls Prey to Hackers

» SPAMfighter News - 1/17/2008

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