Schools, colleges and universities are being increasingly targeted by spammers flooding their systems with junk mail and launching denial-of-service attacks, according to one security firm this week.
Email Systems, which provides content filtering for educational organisations, said on Monday that nearly two-thirds of all emails sent to its 3,800 customers constituted spam and viruses. The company also claimed some institutions were experiencing spam levels of up to 95 percent.
"Spammers are trying to force their messages on people any way they can," said Neil Hammerton, managing director of Email Systems. "If you go back 12 months, spam wasn't seen as a major problem. But now normal email servers just can't cope with the levels of spam they receive."
According to Email Systems, some spammers are launching DoS attacks on schools by singling out individual domain addresses and bombarding them with spam and virus-ridden email at up to 100 times the usual rate.
Hammerton said that most schools don't have the IT resources to cope with this sudden increase of incoming email traffic. One school saw emails suddenly increase from of 24,000 a day to 11 million, the company said.
Hammerton warned that DoS attacks of this nature would increase in 2005.