TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: FTC Says 'Spam' Email Filters Getting Smarter, But so is Spam

FTC Says 'Spam' Email Filters Getting Smarter, But so is Spam

Reuters News Wire (
Mon, 28 Nov 2005 20:48:19 -0600

E-mail "spammers" are aggressive as ever, and smarter too, but
Internet providers are getting better at blocking junk messages before
they reach users' inboxes, according to a U.S. Federal Trade
Commission study released on Monday.

The FTC found that spammers continue to "scrape" e-mail addresses from
the Web using automated programs that look for the telltale "@" sign.

But up to 96 percent of those messages were blocked by the two
Web-based e-mail providers used by the FTC in its test. The FTC did
not say which providers it used in its study.

"This encouraging result suggests that anti-spam technologies may be
dramatically reducing the burden of spam on consumers," the report

The FTC noted that Internet providers still must bear the burden of
filtering out those messages.

Consumers can stay off spammers' lists by writing out their addresses
in an alternate syntax if they must post them online, the FTC said.

Writing an e-mail addresses as "janedoe (at) isp (com)" rather than
"" will fool most spammers' harvesting programs, the
FTC said.

E-mail addresses posted on test Web sites were likely to attract spam,
but those posted on blogs, chat rooms or other online forums were less
likely to become spam magnets, the FTC said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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