Everybody makes mistakes. Of course, Mr. Gates doesn’t have a crystal ball, so telling what the future holds for spam is little easier for him than it is for the rest of us. Nonetheless, by looking at the current patterns of spam, we can make some estimates regarding the future of spam.
Spammers have found that affiliate spam is so profitable that they are able to run the risk of legal recourse in their attempts to make money. In this sense, increased spam laws have largely been a disappointment so far, as they seem to impact far too few spammers.
Perhaps, then, the future of spam will be defined by what happens in the legislatures and the courts around the world. CAN-SPAM could just be the beginning, and one day mass, unsolicited mail could be banned outright. Should the continuing problems of botnet viruses and other trojans continue, this isn’t quite as far-fetched as it sounds.
In this sense, increased spam laws have largely been a disappointment so far, as they seem to impact far too few spammers. Spam virus technology, then, is perhaps the most growing part of the spam threat. But surely, as Bill Gates argued, technology exists that can block this.
That’s true, but it relies on all computer users being tech-savvy enough to install and maintain it – something that’s decidely impossible in the rapidly-expanding world of cyberspace. Indeed, those well-informed enough to protect themselves with spam firewall programs and virus checkers may well be in the minority.
Anti virus can mean many different things, depending on what your duties entail while you are spending time on a computer system.
Indeed, technology in the antispam sector has advanced significantly in the last few years – prompting Gates’ notorious remark – and can affect both sender and recipient. To stop spam from being sent, Gates once advocated “charging” mass mailers in computational cycles in order to discourage massive, indiscriminate sending sprees without overly penalising smaller companies.
Simply put, Gates sought to end the days when a spam mailer program could fire off tens of thousands of emails in seconds – instead, each email would take several seconds to send. Small businesses dealing with customers in the hundreds, rather than the millions, would not be hit hard, but spammers would need to invest in computer architecture far beyond what they currently use now.
So, then, perhaps better spam filtering software is the idea. It’s certainly seemed to help in the cases of Gmail and some other webmail providers, whose users still suffer from spam, but less so than those who use no protection at all. However, it’s difficult to provide a catch-all solution, particularly as image spam and other interesting methods of spam mailings continue to grow. Indeed, one thing that’s guaranteed in the future of spam is that spamming techniques will grow more and more advanced – and more and more devious, too.
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