Saying Yes to Spam?

This week’s security article will be a little bit different, but it’s definitely worth the read! I know I spend a lot of time telling people what to do to keep their computers safe. I always tell people to keep programs up to date, never reply to spam and keep a good set of security tools available. That’s what you should do, but what if you don’t? What if you replied to every spam message you ever received? What would happen to your computer and your identity?

Well, I found a very interesting experiment that aimed to find the answers to those very questions. The project is called the Spammed Persistently All Month (S.P.A.M) Experiment. The study was put together by the McAfee security company and it found some very interesting results.

The experiment was conducted all over the world by 50 different volunteers. McAfee gave each of those people a brand new computer with no antivirus or spam filtering software. They were also given a PayPal account to make payments for items they decided to investigate. Each of the volunteers in the experiment were told to respond to every spam e-mail they received. They were also told to visit “bad” Web sites and follow through with phishing e-mails they received. The results were unbelievable!

Most of the volunteers were left with computers that would barely function, e-mail boxes that were crammed with spam and mail showing up at their front door addressed to the fake names they used for the experiment. The U.S. volunteers received 23,233 spam e-mails by the end of the one month study. That was the most compared to the rest of the world. Eighteen percent of the e-mails were phishing e-mails and the largest amount was in English.

The study shows exactly what happens if you’re not careful on the Internet. It’s not hard to have your computer completely taken over by junk!

If you want to read more about the S.P.A.M Experiment, you can visit the Web site where each of the volunteers kept a blog. They wrote about their experiences daily. You can check it all out right here. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary