Comments: Happy New Year

Actually, 2004 was a big improvement over previous years. XP SP2 is becoming widespread and making its influence felt. Just today I was reading about infected online music files which SP2 owners are immunized against. Another major milestone was the first reported drop in spam by a major provider, AOL. I expect to see further drops in 2005.

It's great to see the naysayers and professional paranoids with egg on their face. In the old days we used to make fun of those who predicted the death of Usenet. Modern Cassandras predict the death of email. I doubt that they will be any more successful.

The truth is that neither pessimism nor optimism is the appropriate stance for predicting the future. Realism will win every time.

I have written before about the pendulum concept for how progress works. Every action triggers a reaction. Blind extrapolation without understanding this effect leads to massive errors. Spam has triggered a reaction. Phishing is triggering a reaction. But these reactions take time. And of course there will be a counter-reaction and the pendulum will go the other way, as some new medium becomes popular and attackers find ways to exploit it.

Posted by Cypherpunk at January 3, 2005 01:17 PM

Cypherpunk, Yea of Too Much Faith! The AOL report wasn't credible, and we already made the point that SP2 only protects those that install it, not the rest of the world. The good news is that spam can only increase another 30% as its already at 70%!

You and Bill predict that spam will be dead in 2 years. I predict "email is dying" by which I mean it is going the way of the post and the telegraph... Let's see who gets smacked by eggs and who by the pendulum...

2004 - The Year of the Phish - Tuesday 4th January 2005

If anything dominated the IT headlines it was IT security or the lack of it. Before we dive into the coming year, here's a quick roundup of the year gone by.

* Despite hopes to the contrary, 2004 turned out to be the worst yet for IT security - just when all those regulatory initiatives started to bite too (in the US at least). Perhaps the most notable scam was phishing (attempts through fraudulent emails to steal personal financial data). According to MessageLabs, the volume of phishing emails grew by a factor of over 20 in the year (to many millions per month). Spam volumes increased from 40 percent of all email to about 70 percent with an average of 6 percent of emails carrying viruses. To add to that, spyware went wild and the number of reported security problems continued to rise over the previous year. When will it end? This year hopefully, but don't hold your breath.


Posted by Iang at January 4, 2005 11:48 AM
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