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News

On the 30th anniversary of spam, Sophos urges users not to click on spam links

Sophos : 01 May, 2008  (Technical Article)
30 years after DEC marketing man spams academics, the phenomenon has grown to levels where 95 percent of all mails received are unwanted according to Sophos.
IT and security control firm Sophos is urging internet users to take the Sophos Spam Pledge and put an end to the significant problems that many businesses face on a daily basis, as spam marks its 30th anniversary today. The first ever spam message was sent on 1st May 1978 by Gary Thuerk, a marketing representative at the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), to 393 users of ARPANET.

Recent Sophos research showed that 95 percent of all email is spam, indicating that the spam crisis has reached new levels - SophosLabs discovers one new spam-related webpage every three seconds. With this in mind, Sophos experts are appealing to internet users, advising them to resist clicking on spam links, in the hope that spam will not reach its next landmark anniversary. A recent survey conducted by the firm revealed that a worrying 11 percent of people admit to having bought good via spam.

'Users are always just a click away from spam - from weight loss medications to drugs used to improve sexual performance, spam is a burden on all of us,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'What's worse is that a lot of spam is deliberately malicious today, aiming to steal your bank account information or install malware. People who buy goods sold via spam are merely perpetuating the problem of junk email for all users and must be stopped.'

'Gary Thuerk could never have imagined what he was starting when he sent that mass email 30 years ago. There is a generation of people today who have never worked in a world without spam clogging up their inboxes,' continued Cluley. 'The internet community needs to do what it can to make sure that spam doesn't celebrate a 40th or 50th birthday. That means educating the public about never buying goods sold via spam. If you receive an unsolicited email message advertising goods to you - don't buy, don't try, don't reply.'

To mark spam's 30th anniversary, Sophos has created a Facebook Group titled 'The Sophos Spam Pledge - "I won't buy goods advertised via spam'', and released a YouTube video of people taking the oath, promising never click on links in unsolicited emails.
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