Study: Common letters get more spam

Those whose names begin with common letters are more likely to receive spam

Those whose names begin with common letter such as A, S, and M are more likely to receive spam that those who start with uncommon ones such as Z and Q, according to research.

Cambridge University security expert Richard Clayton analyzed e-mail traffic logs from Demon Internet and discovered that those with names beginning with more common characters are more likely to receive spam than those with less common ones. (Read the entire report.)

For example, his statistics show that 35 percent of the e-mail received by someone called Alison will be spam, compared to the 20 percent received by someone called Zadie, even though both may have the same e-mail provider.

This contradicts previous theories that it's the section of an e-mail address after the @ symbol that is important to spammers.

"Marmosets and pelicans get around 42 percent spam (M and P being popular letters for people's names) and quaggas 21 percent (there are very few Quentins, just as there are very few Zacks)," Clayton wrote in a follow-up blog post correcting the notion (incorrectly reported here) that alphabetical order was involved in an increase in spam attacks.

Clayton claims that spammers rely on 'Rumplestiltskin' attacks, where they trawl through the dictionary, guessing at names to send spam e-mails too, with a high percentage turning out to be real names.

And Clayton's advice to those fed up with spam - pick your username more carefully.

Jason Snell of Macworld US contributed to this report

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?