Facing down the masterminds of unsolicited Internet mail

THE SPAM BUSINESS

Article from Issue 76/2007
Author(s): , Author(s): , Author(s):

Spammers charge real money for their dubious services, and hundreds of advertisers are willing to pay. We’ll show you some innovative techniques for controlling and containing spam, including strategies for slowing down spam bots, keeping spammers from getting your address, and separating spam from legitimate email.

According to the email service provider Postini [1], of some 524 million messages the provider handled worldwide in a period of 24 hours, 88 percent were spam (345 million messages), including 2 million “special offers,” 650,000 get-rich-quick schemes, and 2 million messages with sexual content. Just 46 million legitimate emails actually reached their targets. Despite the best efforts of the experts, the spam glut isn’t going away. Most organizations focus on containing the problem to prevent losses in admin time and user productivity. We’ll show you some of the latest strategies for fighting spam in this month’s cover story. We’ll start by examining some techniques for keeping spammers from getting your address in the first place. Then we’ll show you how you can throw the spammers off your trail with a tarpit. We’ll also review some anti-spam appliances and services, and we’ll describe a custom solution for a user-trainable spam filter that operates from the server side.

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