Stopping Cleverly Disguised Spam

Small businesses are indeed the latest target for spammers. Most small businesses — unlike their big-business counterparts — have less-sophisticated antispam protection, and spammers have shifted their tactics to take advantage of an easier target.

Unwanted e-mail is a threat to both productivity and security. Spam now comprises more than 50% of all enterprise e-mail and represents somewhere between 40% and 70% of all Internet traffic. Some data show that more than 30% of spam is generated by virus-infected computers, and more than 30% of viruses are propagated by spam.

The increasing interconnectedness of big businesses with small businesses, which are employing — at best — basic desktop antivirus defenses and very little spam protection, means that a large percentage of spam, viruses, and blended attacks are spawned by small businesses.

In addition to the annoying distractions and real productivity losses, spam that contains embedded viruses or worms is overwhelming network and system resources and undermining recent productivity gains from Internet innovations.

Recent IDC data show that small and medium-size businesses are especially vulnerable to spam attacks: Not even one quarter of SMBs have any spam protection at all. And because small businesses are becoming more and more closely tied to large companies through supply-chain integration, a small business’s vulnerability may jeopardize the big business to which it is tied.

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