Friday, May 20, 2011

Spam Study

They’ve found a way to stop spam.

The researchers looked at nearly a billion messages and spent several thousand dollars on about 120 purchases. No single purchase was more than $277.

If a handful of companies like these refused to authorize online credit card payments to the merchants, “you’d cut off the money that supports the entire spam enterprise,” said one of the scientists, Stefan Savage of the University of California, San Diego, who worked with colleagues at San Diego and Berkeley and at the International Computer Science Institute.

Visa, the largest credit card company, declined to comment. But Steve Kirsch, chief executive of Abaca Technology, an antispam company based in San Jose, Calif., said the findings held the potential for “a very powerful deterrent” to spammers.

“If the credit card companies wanted to shut down the spammers, we can easily aid them in rapidly and unambiguously identifying the merchant accounts used by spammers,” he said.

I wonder if that will work with my new girlfriend from Russia.