Peter Cochrane's Blog: Raise the spam shields, Scotty

We're going to need all the defences we can get...

Spam graph

The amount of spam received over the past month has been about 30 times higher than the 2010 levelImage: Peter Cochrane

Written in my Frankfurt hotel and dispatched to the same week on a 32Mbps wi-fi connection.

Some time ago, the dark side of the force really started to annoy me with the large number of unwanted emails, attachments and increasingly cunning attempts to break into my laptop and systems. So I fixed it.

Layered filtering at my service provider and ISP, plus measures on my own laptop and a split DSL feed resulted in weeks with no rogue messages breaking through.

However, I gradually perceived that the spam slipping past my filters was on the increase and becoming significant.

Looking back at my pre-filtered messages, it became obvious that the number of attacks had accelerated over the past 12 months. And while my filters had held up well, my lack of diligence had allowed the number getting through to rise steadily.

Roughly speaking, the spam level this past month has been around 30 times that of 2010. How come? Political tensions worldwide, wars, civil unrest, increases in criminal activity and more.

I also suspect the dark side has been encouraged by its increasing success and the rising number of positive hits that spam is producing.

I know a lot of people have no spam filters, and some have no idea about the risks involved. My advice to them is to educate themselves or seek help, and get on the case fast. To everyone else my advice is to divert more power to your shields. The situation can only get worse.

However, there is another option. Get into the cloud and wrap the protection of the big players around you too. But treat this protection as an added layer and don't dismantle or let go of what you already have. Good security is like thermal insulation. It's about layers - it really is.


Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.

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