People may not like spam, but they are increasingly learning to live with it. A new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggests users do not hate spam as much as they did a year ago and that their reaction to it is softening.

"More than half of internet users still consider spam to be a big problem," wrote Deborah Fellows senior research fellow at Pew, who conducted the survey. "Yet the ill effects of spam on email habits and the overall internet experience have declined."

The decline in concern about spam, the report suggests, may be down to users "getting used to it", but it may be connected to a turn down in pornographic spam, regarded by the Pew Internet and American Life Project as the biggest spam irritant.

But some industry experts have questioned the survey and suggest that spam is still a major problem, especially for businesses. "Some domestic ISPs have gone a long way to combating spam," said Paul Wood, chief information security analyst at email content company Messagelabs.

"But in my experience companies still have a big problem. Perhaps users are being forced into a position of accepting spam, they feel they can't do much about it. But it's certainly still a problem," he added.

According to the survey phishing has risen markedly over the last year. Earlier this year SC reported phishing had risen significantly in January.

www.messagelabs.com