Monday, September 1, 2008

Report: Email Address Dictates Spam Volume

The first letter of your email address is one factor in your spam risk, a researcher says

By Kelly Jackson HigginsSenior Editor, Dark Reading

Everyone knows that some people get more spam than others, but new research shows that it may have something to do with the first letter of your email address.
Richard Clayton, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., says he found evidence that the more common the first letter in your email address is, the more spam you get: in other words, typically gets a higher volume of spam than, or He says that’s simply because there are more combinations of names that begin with “A” than with “Q” or “Z.”

Over an eight-week period, Clayton studied around 8.9 million emails at a U.K. ISP and found that the email addresses that began with “A” received 35 percent spam in their inboxes, while “Z’s” got about 20 percent -- after sorting out real emails versus invalid ones that had likely been generated by a spamming tool. Clayton says it’s likely that spammers using dictionary attacks could be the cause of this disproportionate distribution of spam.

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