Spam Victimizes AT&T Customers

In the daily battle against spam, we sometimes forget that the situation could be worse. After all, spam has never flooded our network, interrupting our mail service for our customers for up to 24 hours.

But this is exactly what poor AT&T system administrators had to go through recently when an "unidentified Internet marketer" (read "cowardly spammer") brought down the AT&T WorldNet mail system, which uses a product from Brightmail to try and reduce the amount of spam its users receive. In this case, it was the Brightmail application which could not withstand the load.

Now, knowing how much mail our servers could theoretically handle before they would begin fold, I cringe at the thought of the shear amount of spam this attack must have entailed.

Meanwhile, as AT&T server administrators fought to bring the system back online, AT&T WorldNet customers experienced delays receiving new mail. The delays ranged as high as a day.

Brightmail spokesperson Francois Lavaste claims that spam attacks are on the rise, up 46% from November alone. He goes on to say that spam now accounts for 20% of all e-mail, up from 10% this time last year. As much as 60% of the e-mail received by some ISPs is spam.

Yes, indeed, the situation could be worse.

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