Even though most organisations know that they are not tackling spam adequately, many are still failing to take the elementary steps necessary to protect themselves.
Security company Clearswift found in its global 2004 Spam Monitor survey that, while more than 72 per cent of organisations have some form of spam defences in place, 55 per cent believe these to be inadequate.
Clearswift's research showed that these firms have reason to be concerned because it found significant and serious gaps in anti-spam technology defences deployed by businesses.
Security threats include companies having their mail servers hijacked by spammers to send out spam.
Some 24 per cent of organisations admitted that they had been used as an 'open relay' to send junk mail, and a worrying 34 per cent did not know whether they had been infiltrated in such a way.
An equally disturbing 30 per cent did not know whether a spammer had used the company's Wi-Fi network to send spam.
But these breaches could be contained by regularly reconfiguring anti-spam defences, according to Clearswift.
Alyn Hockey, director of research at the vendor, advised implementing reporting procedures and monitoring the amount and type of email sent to and from a company. But he indicated that many companies fail to take these precautions.
"More than a third of businesses admitted that they never refine or reconfigure their anti-spam tools, and 63 per cent did not use web filtering software in addition to email filtering technology to help fight spam," he said.
"Any anti-spam solution without regular spam updates is worthless. Without refining anti-spam defences it is not possible to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of spam.
"Spammers are beginning to use more subtle means of making money. You only have to look at the huge increase in financial junk mail, which appears to give stocks and shares information but plays on people's curiosity and greed."
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