Along with the massive surge in e-mail usage around the globe, an even more astounding and troublesome trend continues to emerge. A rapidly increasing percentage of e-mail messages are unsolicited — and sometimes malicious, from conventional spam to virus-laden carriers to so-called phishing scams. In early 2003, the oft-cited estimate of e-mail considered spam was approximately 40 percent; by early 2004 this figure had jumped to 60 percent. At the start of 2005, some sources estimate spam comprises as much as 70 percent to 80 percent of global e-mail traffic.
Not surprisingly, anti-spam and anti-virus features have been the most common upgrades to mail server packages in the past year. A strong anti-spam feature set will offer several defenses, which work in combination to trap the majority of incoming spam.
Security will probably remain the e-mail server focus for 2005, as servers grow more sophisticated in their ability to minimize the crushing weight of unsolicited messages. Expect to see a wider implementation of tools to enforce e-mail authenticity and challenge messages with questionable origins.