Internet service providers are making progress in slowing spam, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study.
The report found that spammers continue to harvest e-mail addresses from public areas of the Internet, but addresses posted in chatrooms, message boards, USENET groups and blogs were unlikely to be taken.
"Indeed, some chatroom operators took proactive measures to prevent the harvesting of e-mail addresses posted by the FTC staff," the study says.
The report also found that consumers who post their e-mail addresses on the Internet can effectively "mask" them. The technique involves altering an address to confuse automated address harvesting software.
For the study, the FTC created 150 new e-mail accounts. The accounts were spread over ISPs, including those that used anti-spam filters and those that didn't. The FTC then posted the new e-mail addresses on 50 sites, including message boards, blogs, chatrooms and USENET groups.
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