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The Real Cost of Spam

Spam costs organizations billions of dollars a year—but you can help avoid those costs with some simple practices.

A spam bot is an automated computer program designed to assist in the sending of spam. Wonder why you get so much spam? Popular spam bots can send out tens of thousands of spam messages per hour.

We all know that spam is annoying, but few realize the true costs of spam. Managing spam costs U.S. businesses more than $71 billion in lost productivity each year, according to Nucleus Research.

But the costs go beyond lost time, as organizations also lose money to cyber criminals who use spam to seize financial data and commit crimes. Luckily, you can help prevent both kinds of loss with some simple but effective practices.

Most of the time spam just clogs up inboxes, wasting time and energy. According to Nucleus Research, an employee spends 16 seconds to review and delete each spam message, and an average of 7.3 minutes trying to recover legitimate e-mails that are blocked by corporate spam prevention tools. Multiply those figures by the billions of spam messages sent each year, and the extent of the problem is clear.

Sometimes, however, spam can lead directly to theft. Cyber criminals use spam “bots”—software applications that perform simple, repetitive tasks at great speed—to broadcast e-mail messages trying to trick readers into accessing a web site or link.

When the spam recipient either opens the spam or clicks a link embedded within the spam, they download a Trojan Horse or other malicious program to their machine. Recently, security company Finjan discovered a network of spam criminals that may have compromised as many as 1.9 million computers worldwide—in just two months!

How can you protect our organization from the dangers of spam? These three steps are time-tested:

  • Use your company’s antivirus software. Most antivirus software includes spam filtering–a great one-two punch against spam.
  • Don’t publish your e-mail address. Criminals scour web sites and social networking information for their next victims. Your company e-mail is for business use, so keep it that way.
  • Don’t open e-mail from unknown senders. You’re not only opening the door for more spam, you could be opening the doors of our organization’s network to online thieves.


Stay alert and can the spam. Always stay on guard against those who would steal your time and your money—and that of our organization!

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