That’s the number of e-mail messages that tried to reach our network in the month of September!

That’s right! The 2nd quarter of 2008 saw a total of almost ninety million email messages addressed to CGIAR staff!…And the numbers follow a steep upward trend spam(look at the graph). Of course, not all of these messages are legitimate emails; the upward spam trend continues as reported in May 2008, but the real news in this quarter was the increase of viruses trying to come into the CGIAR…almost two million (2,000,000!!) viruses were removed by Symantec in September alone (the antivirus tool used by CGNET, our communication provider)!

The CGIAR has now over 9,600 mailboxes and we operate in over 120 locations. The complexities of keeping our large, dispersed network in working orders were discussed in our latest IT Managers meeting.

Scary stats: almost 90% of the almost 90 million messages sent to the CGIAR in this second quarter were spam, 7% were viruses and only 5% (that’s right only 5%, but still 1.39 million) were valid messages …and these are the only ones that came into our mailboxes. The dangers of not having a good “gatekeeper” which allows only the “good e-mails” in were revealed in this Symantec press release.

So next time you get a rogue spam message, that sneakingly makes its way through our spam and virus filters, no matter how annoying…. think of what would happen if our friendly gatekeeper were not there!

But there is something you can do to help at least slow down this upward trend: when you register to a non-work related site (be that Facebook, Flicker, LinkedIn…) avoid using your address. If you are unsure, ask your IT department.