McAfee’s SPAM experiment

McAfee Inc. has launched a 30-day public experiment called, S.P.A.M (Spammed Persistently All Month) in 10 countries around the world to raise awareness and highlight market opportunities for end-users and channel partners in the online security space.

S.P.A.M. Experiment is being conducted using a sample group of 50 volunteers ranging in ages and professions in 10 countries, with five participants in each, including: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Andrew Berkuta, senior security evangelist at McAfee, noted that each participant was given a clean laptop free from spam protection along with an e-mail address. The participants, he said, will go about their day-to-day activities on their unprotected computers and will be regularly blogging about their computing experiences.

“After 30 days,” Berkuta said, “spam on the laptops will lead to a plethora of triggers that lead to detrimental effects. We want to raise awareness for consumers to show them what happens if systems aren’t protected.”

Upon completion of the experiment, Berkuta said the computers will then be sent to McAfee researchers who will analyze what has happened to the laptops’ systems.

While no concrete plans regarding if the actual research results will be made available to McAfee channel partners, Berkuta did say that he would not be surprised if the company were to offer the “autopsies of those results” to the channel in the form of whitepapers or other informative efforts.

“For channel partners, the raw findings of these results can be used as an educational component for when they’re talking to their customers,” Berkuta said. “We want to make sure our partners are armed with the appropriate information and knowledge when it comes to helping their customers build their ‘survivability’ on the Internet.”

On McAfee’s end, Berkuta said the experiment will offer more general public awareness about spam and security and will also be a way for the company to internally re-evaluate its current solution portfolio of offerings.

“We want to see if there’s a better mousetrap that can be built to help neutralize the spam that’s out there on the Internet so people can have safe computing experiences,” he added. “In order for a company to survive in this day and age, security is a mandate. The opportunity for the channel then, is to empower and protect their customers.”

To access the blog entries posted by the S.P.A.M. participants around the world, users can visit for more information.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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