E-mail security firm MessageLabs reported this week that spam accounted for 76% of all e-mail traffic worldwide recently, and the level is rising. Filters are struggling to keep up. One knowledgeable columnist installed a server-based filter but discovered that its effectiveness seemed to drop after a few months. You may have had the same thing happen if you’ve tried a spam filtering program. The spammers are constantly adjusting their messages to get through each new filter.

For the moment – knock on wood – I’m still happy with the performance of Outlook 2003’s built-in filter, set to “High” and automatically deleting the junk messages sight unseen. If you’re using Outlook 2003, don’t forget to visit the Office Update site and install updates to the spam filter.

As an interesting aside, I saw a report recently where dozens of new e-mail addresses were set up and then used in various ways to discover what generated the most spam – registering software, posting in newsgroups and messageboards, signing up for mailing lists, and the like. A staggering 97% of the resulting spam was associated with listing an e-mail address on a web site – the spammers have automated tools scouring web sites looking for e-mail addresses. I’m going to take the live e-mail links away from the bottom of bruceb.com pages. . .

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