Two months, 400 spam emails. That does not fun math make.

In a fit of (what may seem like) masochism, The Ken undertook the daunting task of tracking spam. For two months, we dedicatedly maintained a record of the sender, at what time and date we received the mail, whether it had a link to opt-out or not, and if it did, then what the opt-out status was. It was hard labour, especially for our colleague Rohin Dharmakumar, as he was the first to embark on this crusade of sorts. Plus, he compiled most of the data.

Spam, though, isn’t Dharmakumar’s problem alone. Data from Talos—the security intelligence and research group of Cisco—shows that of the total email volume sent worldwide in September 2017, 85% was spam. There is no hiding from spammers, they eventually find and trap you in this never-ending cycle of nuisance.

If one were to look specifically at India, data from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro shows that the spam rate in this country stands at 84%. (Spam rate is derived from the emails that pass through the company’s network and the spam that is blocked by email reputation companies.) Further, data from Kaspersky suggests that of the total spam sent globally, 8.4% comes from India.

Spam haven

As per spamhaus.org, India ranks 8 in the list of ‘the world’s worst spam haven countries’ for enabling spamming.

Yeah, 8.4% of all that spam in the world is ours. And you’d be surprised to learn that most of your spam comes from otherwise reputed companies.

The who’s who

For starters, Dharmakumar encountered a spam vortex on Facebook. The social media giant’s spam tactic reminds one of the famous Eagles song Hotel California—You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave… When one tries to opt-out from one of Facebook’s mailing lists, they come back with a vengeance.

This phenomenon is best-illustrated with the help of the below visual. When Dharmakumar tried to opt-out from a certain email notification, he kept receiving emails from a list called ‘Recent comments from your friends’. After unsubscribing from there, he continued to receive notifications from ‘People you may know’. After opting-out for the third time (one would think that this might finally end), he started receiving emails from ‘Recent photos from your friends’. It sucked him right back in. Every time.

Never ending notifications from Facebook

Some facts:

  • Over the two months, icicidirect.com sent us the most mails (48), followed by m2i.in (28) and door2inbox.com (14). The last two are owned by Mify Solutions, an email marketing company based out of Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
  • The most advertised companies were ICICI Direct and Citibank.

AUTHOR

Sidhartha Shukla

In his earlier stint at Moneycontrol, the website owned by the Network18 group, Sid wrote on cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, business, and finance. Born in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Sid has spent most of his life in Jalandhar, Punjab. He has a BSc in Mathematics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Sid is a comic book nerd and a big fan of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Brian Azzarello. He can be reached at sidhartha at the rate the-ken.com

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