by Mike Masnick

Spam: We're Losing

from the not-done-yet... dept

In case you hadn't realized it yet, we seem to be losing the battle against spam. As the reporter points out, if there was an anti-spam product that actually worked, she wouldn't be hearing about new anti-spam products every day. So, technology solutions aren't working yet. Legal issues clearly aren't working. So what are we to do? For the time being, it appears that some technology solutions have made it so the level of spam is manageable (for example, I'm now down to only about five or ten spams a day - from what once was around 100). However, as the arms race continues, this doesn't seem workable. The point the writer makes is that all of these separate efforts don't make sense. We need a combined, unified front in fighting spam. I completely agree, which was why I had been ecouraged by the JamSpam effort - though, it's unclear if that's going anywhere. The problem with presenting a unified front is that you have to first build that unified front - and it isn't always so easy.

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  • identicon
    Cory Seaman, 11 Apr 2003 @ 10:20am

    Try SpamNet...

    There's a product that DOES work extremely well on spam--Cloudmark's SpamNet. And better yet, it's free. It eliminates upwards of 800 pieces of spam weekly for me (about 95%+, with no false positives). It identifies spam by way of unique spam "signatures" submitted via the whole network of users, rather than standard filter-based methods which are somewhat ineffective. No matter what the contents of the spam, it can block it. It does have to communicate with a remote server to check mail signatures, which takes a small amount of time (second or two) per e-mail, but the product is still in beta and improves with each release. I've recommended its use throughout our company.

    Looking at my post I feel like I should provide my own "unsubscribe" link :), but I'm really not associated with the organization other than being a fan of their product.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 11 Apr 2003 @ 10:31am

      Re: Try SpamNet...

      Two problems with SpamNet:

      (1) It only works with Microsoft Outlook. I don't use Microsoft Outlook.

      (2) I've heard from a number of people that, while it worked well initially, that's isn't true any more.

      I'm not saying there aren't solutions that do get rid of most spam (I use SpamCop, which gets me about the same success rate you described). However, long term, these types of solutions are less workable as the load of spam increases - and gets sneakier about figuring out ways through the filters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    drstein, 11 Apr 2003 @ 1:16pm

    my solution

    sell hunting licenses for spammers. Look at the news articles about the spammers that people interview.. spammers are rude, insensitive, clueless idiots that have an overinflated sense of self importance.

    That'll change once we whack a few. :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Faisal, 11 Apr 2003 @ 1:24pm


    I get about 150 pieces of mail per day (not counting mailing list mail), of which all but about 10 are spam. I've been using spamassassin 2.5 with the bayesian probabalistic analysis functions trained with a corpus of about 3000 spam messages (i saved up for a month) and 5000 non-spam. So far this month I've gotten 5 false negatives and no false positives. It's a learning system, so repeats of the false negatives were caught.

    UNIX only, not amazingly user friendly, and ruthlessly effective.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      msykes, 11 Apr 2003 @ 3:03pm

      Re: spamassassin

      I set a new record today. On my general account which I register for everything on the internet with, I get a lot of spam. But today I got 500 copies of the exact same spam message.

      Ugh. Time to buy a gun.


      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael M, 13 Apr 2003 @ 2:05am

      Re: spamassassin

      SpamAssassin literally saves me from drowning in spam. With 2.5 and Bayes, About one spam per 1-2 days makes it through. This is impressive, considering that the total number of spam I receive per day is over 300.

      Incidentally, it supports Razor (the open-source UNIX version of SpamNet) too. It's probably this and other network tests that make my results so good.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    thecaptain, 14 Apr 2003 @ 6:25am

    it depends on the address.

    my private email address that I use only for friends and some mailing lists I trust gets about a dozen spam emails daily. I've had it for 5 years now, and I receive maybe 150 emails a day (from some tech mailing lists and a few from friends). I don't use that email to sign up anywhere. My spam filters in Evolution (linux) work quite well, as I imagine they'd work if I used them in Outlook (I'd rather unhook my network cable before I use Outlook tho).

    My hotmail address tho, which I also don't use to sign up anywhere, but I've had since hotmail started (before Microsoft took over) receives 8 to 10 times as much spam as legitimate email...I receive about 10-12 emails daily and I receive 150 spam emails MINIMUM). Its insane. The "junk mail" folder helps A LOT, since I only let through people in my list...but I still have to waste time going through the spam deluge in case I might miss a legitimate email).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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