Posts Tagged ‘high traffic loads’

Post #9 on Why Spam Filters Suck “trickle blog” series

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2008
Posted by d.liao.

Real World Scenarios Despite all the money invested into anti-spam solutions, spam volume continues to rise. Yes, spamming is an arms race. But the real race is one of sheer volume. Spammers respond to difficulty by simply sending more spam. Better filtering? Send more to improve numbers getting through. Spamming not profitable enough? Send more spam. Users not interested? Send more variety. With botnets, spammers have a highly scalable delivery infrastructure and are not limited by resources. Unfortunately, it’s the receiver of spam that bears the cost of that volume. The problem is more than just the annoyance of spam. Spam is a big cost to organizations. High spam volumes lead to delays in email delivery and significant over-capacity to handle spikes in volume. Email providers know customers are very sensitive to any delays in the receipt of important email, and any service disruptions by a failure to handle loads […]

Post #7 on Why Spam Filters Suck “trickle blog” series

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Posted by d.liao.

Slowing Things Down The problem is, typical email systems work in a queue. This means that high spam traffic clogs your network and crowds out legitimate mail. Botnets pour messages into your network, and mail servers receive the messages as quickly as they can. Next, the spam filter analyzes and tries to filter out any messages that appear to be spam. Filters are effective at separating spam from email but do nothing to stop the rising volume of SMTP connections hammering the server. When spam traffic rises, the server becomes overloaded and results in delivery delays for all email, similar to how a backlogged exit ramp can impede the flow of traffic on a highway during peak hours. Today, Internet facing email servers accept thousands of emails per minute. As spam volume increases, so too does the CPU required to process all that mail. The blunt solution is to scale […]

Post #3 on Why Spam Filters Suck “trickle blog” series

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2008
Posted by d.liao.

Once Promising Proposals for a Final Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem (FUSSP) “Two years from now, spam will be solved.” That was Bill Gates’ famous pronouncement back in 2004. Microsoft, Yahoo and the open source community devised two techniques that they believed would eradicate spam. The first was sender authentication, which allowed email senders to provide a list of the servers permitted to send email for users within their domain. The idea was that sender authentication would eliminate spammers spoofing legitimate email addresses, and allow for the creation of a permanent, ironclad white list of trustworthy domains that never send spam, thus allowing recipients to simply block everything not on the white list and end spam forever. Another idea pitched in 2004 was the computational challenge. Senders would, upon connecting to a receiving email server, have to spend considerable CPU cycles computing the answer to a mathematical challenge provided […]

Post #1 on Why Spam Filters Suck “trickle blog” series

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008
Posted by d.liao.

A Short History of Spam Protection While methods have changed, spam continues to be the misuse of an open communication network for financial gain. What was once a harmless annoyance has led to serious conditions where high spam traffic can clog email servers to the detriment of legitimate mail. How did we get here? And what can we change to solve the problem? The first spam email ever was used to promote a seminar from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1978. I’d call it spam because it was a mass emailing harvested from a printed directory of ARPAnet to recipients who had not requested any contact. Spam didn’t become a huge problem until around 2002 when there were enough active email users worldwide to make spamming profitable. In response, the first commercial and open source spam filters arrived in Brightmail, PureMessage, and SpamAssassin to name a few. The first generation […]