Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

97% of emails are spam, says Microsoft SIR

97% of emails are spam, says Microsoft SIR

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Microsoft released it's 2008 Security and Intelligence Report on April 7, 2009.  A number of news sources picked up the story and are reporting on a certain statistic.  I'll quote various sources.

The BBC:

More than 97% of all e-mails sent over the net are unwanted, according to a Microsoft security report.

The e-mails are dominated by spam adverts for drugs, and general product pitches and often have malicious attachments.

Investor's Business Daily:

More than 97% of all e-mails sent over the Net are unwanted spam, according to a Microsoft security report. The report also said hackers are increasingly using common file formats, such as Microsoft Office documents and PDF files to send viruses. The global ratio of infected machines was 8.6 for every 1,000 uninfected machines.

The 97% number refers to numbers sent over the public internet, it doesn't include intranet mail, that is, mail flowing within a company.  How do I know this?  Because I am the one who wrote those sentences.

Well, to be clear, I compiled and provided the numbers for spam as a proportion of all mail for our service, as well as the distribution of spam mail.  Basically, spam is huge and dwarfs all other types of mail.

But it's nice to be quoted, indirectly, by the BBC.

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