NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Digital bulk mail, known as spam, has a tendency to show up on U.S. computers because it is often a moneymaker, an e-mail watchdog firm said.
"The things that wind up in your in-box … are there because people buy them," said Brandon Phillips, chief executive officer of Lashback, a firm that tracks e-mails to see if they meet federal laws, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday.
Estimates on how much spam is flying around cyberspace run as high as 97 percent of all e-mails, an estimate made by Microsoft Corp., although others put the figure at around 85 percent.
The aggregate amount of aggravating solicitations is growing. Project Honey Pot, which monitors spam, said the number of active bots -- systems that use hijacked computers to send e-mails -- has quadrupled in each of the past five years and now number about 400,000 a day.
When tracking spam, Lashback found 6 percent of Internet users in surveys indicate they knowingly open spam because of an interest in the product, the newspaper said.
"People are sort of resigned to the fact they're going to get spam. It's just a question of how much," said Lorrie Cranor, an associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.