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US 'spam' is out of control and coming to the UK

LONDON - Unsolicited emails or 'spam' is causing havoc in US businesses and will soon begin clogging up the email networks of UK businesses, according to a survey by email security company MessageLabs.

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The escalation of spam has caused a massive impact on companies' bottom-line figures, as employee's time, network bandwidth and storage space all become compromised, it says.

Over half of the respondents in the US complained that one in three of their daily emails contained spam. Although their British counterparts said 15% of emails currently contained spam, given the propensity for the UK to follow US trends in IT, the warning is clear.

MessageLabs believes a failure to agree on what comprises spam is behind companies inability to deal with the problem. Nearly half of those asked said their current filtering technology was "ineffective" or "very ineffective".

Jos White, marketing director at MessageLabs, said: "The problem is not only that it gets through, but that firms don't know how to define it -- with viruses it is easy, but one man's spam is potentially another's useful information."

MessageLabs has launched its own filtering service Skyscan AS, which uses "heuristics" scanning to build a database of spam techniques and behaviour to proactively identify spam no matter what its origin.

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