The Rest of the Story

In the 1970s and 80s many Americans, myself included, listened to a radio show called, “The Rest of the Story.”  The show focused on a variety of stories and little known facts but always excluded one key (and most important) element that the host withheld until the very end of the segment.  After peaking listener’s curiosity with an interesting but an incomplete narrative, the host would, at the final moment,  reveal  what you didn’t know, you didn’t know –  he concluded each segment with the phrase, “and now my friends, you know the rest of the story.”

That phrase, “the rest of the story” came to my mind when reading articles about the phenomenal drop in spam volume in the last year. 2012 was indeed a victorious year for Spam Fighters. As Christine Borgia stated in Spam Down, Users Still at Risk, spam volumes are at a historic low. 2012 was the year that finally saw the demise of the Grum botnet. According to one of the engineers involved in the take-down, Grum was potentially responsible for between 35-50% of the world’s spam in any given week.

But what’s the rest of the story? Eleven GmbH, a German anti-spam technology provider recently published a press release entitled; 2012 and 2013 E-mail Security Trends: Increased Threat Levels despite Spam Decline. In their paper, Eleven maintains that the threat is ever persistent and advancing. According to Eleven, “2012 was the year of targeted spam, malware, and phishing campaigns.” Malware attacks skyrocketed and drive-by e-mail comprised nearly one tenth of all spam e-mail for the first time in September 2012.  Eleven agrees with what Tom Sather predicted in Is Email Facing a Crisis of Trust?  When it comes to Phishing, there is a long battle ahead of us. 2013 will be the Year of Phishing.

In anticipation of this heightened threat, we launched our Anti-Phishing Solutions in 2012. Our solution suite enables both email senders and mailbox providers to take advantage of authentication technology to protect their email streams and users. Mailbox providers can proactively prevent phishing attacks by contributing their authentication results data to the Return Path Authentication Data Cooperative. Email senders can manage and monitor their authentication profiles and confirm that they are authenticating all of their email streams.

Spam volumes may be at a historic low but volume numbers alone don’t tell the whole story.

Spam has evolved and is more dangerous than ever and as the Email Intelligence Company, Return Path will continue to lead the way in 2013 turning “The Year of Phishing” into “The Year of Authentication.” And now my friends, you know the rest of the story.

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