Friday 30 January 2004

Anti-Virus Companies and Spamming

Brian Martin's rant against Anti-Virus Companies:

Spam is basically defined as "unsolicited junk e-mail". Unsolicited, as in you did not request the person/company to send you mail. Junk, as in it contains no valuable content or information. When an anti-virus program from a remote system mails you out of the blue, tells you that it blocked a virus YOU sent, tells you that you are likely infected with a virus and advertises itself, the remote site is sending you spam. In the case of the latest worm, myself and others have received more spam from Anti-Virus products than the worm itself! As you read this, Anti-Virus companies are responsible for products that are sending out more unwanted mail than the worm itself. The most damning mail from these products not only purport to "warn you of infection", but they go so far as to advertise the product to you. This is unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE, aka "spam") in its purest form.

Fridrik Skulason on why (some) anti-virus companies are to blame for the recent e-mail flood:

Worse yet, if mail filters send out one message for every copy of Sobig.F received, they are in effect doubling the amount of traffic. This makes them a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.

The problem is that some commercial mail filters have this behaviour set as the default. At least one filter gives only two options: Always send a "virus alert" to the "From" address of every infected e-mail received or "pass the message through to the recipient". Clearly neither of these options are acceptable.

I have only one word for this: Stupid!