Spam celebrates silver jubilee

One of the most annoying aspects of the internet, spam, is 25 years old this weekend.

Net historians have trawled records and found that the first junk e-mail message hawking a company or its wares was sent back in 1978.

Coincidentally, the first commercial spam sent to Usenet discussion groups was sent a little over 10 years ago.

Now spam is thought to account for up to 40% of all e-mail messages sent across the net and many industry groups, companies and technologists are uniting to fight the flood.

Research by net alumni Brad Templeton has found that the first spam message was sent back in the days when the internet was known as Arpanet.

By 1978 Arpanet had been operating for about nine years and was letting lots of people at universities and government bodies swap e-mail.

On 3 May a marketing executive at Digital Equipment Corporation, a leading maker of minicomputers, decided to send all West Coast Arpanet users a message about an open day that would show off its new range of machines.

News source: BBC News

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