Spammers Only Make 1 Sale in Every 12.5 Million Messages Sent

12 November 2008

If you're wondering how often people these days fall for spam mail, Security researchers from the University of California, San Diego and UC Berkeley say that it's probably lower than you expected. 

In an interesting research study, a group of computer scientists hacked into the spammer's Storm network, which uses “bots” to send junk email to hijacked home computers. They found that spammers only make one sale in every 12.5 million messages sent.

The research group set up a fake pharmacy website and basically hijacked the hijackers’ system to send out advertisements that would lead responders to their site. If a respondent were to try and enter their credit card information to purchase pharmaceuticals, they were taken to an error page. (but surely this invalidates the study, since respondents may not have gone through with it?)

Although 350 million email messages sent over 26 days only resulted in only 28 sales, the study concluded that if many more messages were sent, Storm owners could be earning £4,500 a day, or £1.6m a year.  That's quite a bit of passive income for annoying people, but the estimate is probably much lower than what most people perceive spammers to be earning.

[The Register via Computer Weekly]

TOPICS:   Scams

1 comment

  • How B.
    [...] when it recently came to light that spammers have to send over 12 million emails to find one gullible fool who’ll sign up to whatever they’re selling, the question that [...]

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