University spam researchers discover the alphabet bias

A Cambridge University study has uncovered bad news for the Adams and Alisons of this world. According to their research you are more likely to receive spam if your name, and by consequence your e-mail address, starts with a letter towards the beginning of the alphabet.

Richard Clayton, the security expert who ran the study, explained the trend by saying that spammers will often use a “dictionary” method of disseminating spam. This means they start at the beginning of the dictionary predicting e-mail addresses such as aaron.smith@hotmail.com and work up the alphabet from there.

By the time they reach Zach they may well have given up. It will be interesting to see whether these findings have any effect on naming trends amongst IT professionals. We could see whole generations of Zivs and Zondas steering IT through the 21st century.

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