At the World Economic Forum on 24 January 2004, Bill Gates promised that spam would be eradicated as a problem within 24 months. Follow this link to read about his three-stage plan to can spam, which generated plenty of headlines then.
I expect the Microsoft Chairman to receive plenty of reminders about his bold prediction right now because two years have passed and spam is still very much a problem even though statistics posted by MessageLabs suggested that spam volumes have been gradually falling since to a present level of about 65% of global e-mails. In fact, Microsoft has quietly shelved the digital payment plan proposed by Gates while turning its focus to e-mail filtering and going after bulk mailers through the courts, where it has achieved some notable successes.
Today, sales pitches from Viagra merchants, unsolicited invitations to view nasty nymphettes and “help me get a million dollars out of Nigeria” letters flying around cyberspace may be passé. Instead, what we’re about to witness are criminals threatening to overwhelm the sites of Web retailers with a flood of spam that prevents real customers from getting through.
According to a Q4 2005 survey by security firm Sophos published in January this year, the United States remains the leading source of spam messages, although for the first time it accounts for less than 25% of all spam relayed. China (22.3%), South Korea (9.7%), France (5%) and Canada (3%) round out the remainder of Sophos’ top five spam-relaying nations.