When Gmail first launched, it was lauded for its spam filtering and security – there was no spam leaving the systems and almost no spam coming in. But all that has changed as a study from Roaring Penguin has found that spam originating from Gmail has risen from 6.8 to 27% in just the last month. The impetus for the big jump is likely to be that the Google account registration CAPTCHA has been completely defeated and almost doesn’t even stand in the way anymore.
We pronounced that CAPTCHA’s were dead some weeks ago, as there are now hundreds of thousands of ready-to-go accounts for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo now available to purchase online. With Gmail now responsible for 27% of spam, the trust mechanisms have completely broken down to the point where Google must take some drastic action to filter out automated users who are sending out bulk email.
They could do that by throttling the number of outbound emails, and some common sense user tracking. I don’t think any real user would be sending thousands of emails an hours, like most of the spamming scripts do – so it shouldn’t be too hard to detect and shutdown. Google have a big problem on their hands, and it will affect other Gmail users as the email coming out of the system is now being treated with increased suspicion by other mail handlers.