• United States

Crystal-balling spam

Aug 28, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalwareMessaging Apps

* Four predictions related to spam

Here’s what I think will happen with spam over the next 12 months.

* Spam legislation will be successfully passed in the U.S. and Europe, making spamming an offense punishable to varying degrees at the federal or EU level. There are a variety of antispam bills currently working their way through Congress, for example, such as the Spam Act and the Criminal Spam Act of 2003. The political pressure to pass something will continue to grow, making spamming a federal offense at some point in the near future.

* One of the first impacts of these laws will be to eliminate many domestic “mom and pop” spammers. Many of these people don’t want to run the risk of running afoul of the law, and so will simply stop what they’re doing. The net effect will be to increase the proportion of spam coming from countries in which antispam laws do not exist or where the chance of prosecution is nil.

* Because many spammers will be selling from offshore locations, making shipping more difficult and costly, I believe that many of them will be motivated to sell products that can be delivered electronically, not physically. Consequently, I believe that the proportion of spam that advertises porn Web sites will increase significantly over the next nine to 12 months. While the absolute amount of spam may not increase all that much during that period, porn-related spam will skyrocket.

* The dramatic increase in porn-related spam will pressure IT departments to implement image-analysis systems as a part of their larger antispam, antivirus and content-filtering system initiatives. The issue of a hostile workplace environment arising from pornographic images reaching end users will simply be too great a risk for enterprises not to implement these systems.

Please let me know what you think about these predictions by dropping me a line at