Anti-spam filtering outfit Brightmail has released a list of the ten most common spam messages assaulting users' in-boxes this year.
Based on volume of messages as a percentage of all spam (monitored through Brightmail's Probe Network of decoy email addresses), the following Subject lines top the list in 2002:
- Protect Your Computer Against Viruses for $9.95 - Anti-virus software spam was the most common this year
- Verification Department - Credit card scam spam has been very common, especially in recent months
- Refinancing? Get a FREE quote on any mortgage loan program - Classic mortgage spam holds its ground
- Printer Cartridges - Save up to 80% - Free Shipping Offer - Printer cartridge spam, also a classic, is still one of the top spams
- Miniature Remote Control Car. Great Gift! - A newer spam, an email about toy cars for the holidays, has picked up pace in recent months
- $100 F R E E, Please Play Now! - Casino spam continued to stake out email inboxes worldwide
- Online Auction Marketing Secrets! - Online auction marketing scams bid heavily on email users this year
- Important news Kuira - Septic system spam seeped rapidly through the Internet earlier this year
- URGENT & CONFIDENTIAL - Nigerian 419 fraud spam asked millions of email
users to help free-up usurped royal coffers this year
- GET A FREE PASS TO THOUSANDS OF XXX SITES! - Pornographic email slithered into inboxes, including those of children
So if you've received multiple copies of these various spam messages, at least there's the comfort of knowing you're not alone.
"In 2002, we saw classics like the 'Printer Cartridges' and the 'Nigerian Scam' spam messages reach exceptionally high volumes while newcomers 'Septic System' and 'Remote Control Cars' made big debuts," explained Ken Schneider, CTO at Brightmail.
Brightmail cautions that in many instances spammers are not who they seem to be. (Er, hello? - ed)
Many times the companies named in the 'From' line, 'Subject' line or in the header are in no way associated with the senders of spam (good heavens, this is new stuff - Ed again). Spammers use well-known brands to draw attention and attach credibility to their scams or unauthorised marketing. Furthermore, spammers have had to become increasingly sophisticated in 2002, partly in response to a worldwide backlash against the dramatic rise in spam.
"With legislators, regulators, technologists and individual email users pitted against them, spammers have had to hide behind digital identity theft," the company notes. ®
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