Spam – a million dollar business

A war is fought between geeks over who can infect users’ computers to produce the biggest number of e-mail addresses. The winner is bound to make a lot of money from spammers who try to lead you into anything ranging from buying prescription drugs to joining porn sites (possibly infecting you with spyware in the process).

The reason they are doing this is because it works. 5% of the respondents to Sophos’ survey have admitted to buying goods sold via spam. This can only allow us to speculate what the global number is: it may be 5million users and it may be a lot more.

According to Sophos’ latest Threat report, there has been a huge outbreak of web-based infections during the first half of 2007. 30,000 infected websites were being built every day in June, which is 25,000 more than what the number was earlier this year.

This huge increase in web-infections is due to “drive-by downloads”, meaning that you don’t have to download infected files manually anymore, it happens automatically. The only thing left is to lure the victims to the infected page, a task spammers are more than glad to accomplish.

Nowadays even the most respectable sites might be infected. In March, for example, on the infected list was MySpace, running spyware SpaceTalk on a QuickTime movie.

Authorities arrest someone once in a while, but it is difficult because of the complicated nature of tracking e-criminals down.

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