Adult-related Spam Triples During January

Jeff Berg
CYBERSPACE — The amount of porn spam sent over the Internet tripled during January, according to new statistics released by U.K.-based email monitoring firm Email Systems.

According the company’s three-month survey of email traffic, sexually explicit email accounted for roughly 7 percent of mail sent during December 2004. During January, the number leaped to more than 21 percent.

“January is clearly a month when consumers are less motivated to purchase financial products or put money into dubious financial opportunities,” said Neil Hammerton, managing director of Email Systems. “Spammers seem to have adapted their output to reflect this, focusing instead on medically motivated and pornographic offers, presumably intentionally intended to coincide with what is traditionally the bleakest month of the year.”

Hammerton also said that the amount of denial-of-service attacks had been increasing in frequency and at least one of his clients had received about 12 million emails during January, with only 54,000 turning out to be legitimate.

“The increasing frequency of DoS attacks means that it is no longer just the multinational corporations who are on the receiving end unfortunately,” Hammerton said. “For example, the attack on our engineering client would quite literally have rendered their domain useless without the provision of an email management service to safeguard its effectiveness.”

The announcement comes in conjunction with a University of Maryland study that reveals American businesses spend nearly $22 billion a year dealing with junk emails.

The study, conducted over the telephone, found that roughly 75 percent receive spam daily, and the average amount of spam messages received per day was about 18.5. The average amount of time dealing with the messages per day was roughly 2.8 minutes, which translates into a total of $21.6 billion loss of productivity annually.

The study had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent.