Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

I don't want to brag... but I will

I don't want to brag... but I will

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This past week we have been getting a flood of image-only spam.  These types of messages are difficult to filter, as I have alluded to in another post.

Well, just yesterday I put in a spam rule that was designed to block those types of spams.  Today, I checked the performance on it and it had blocked 7 million spams.  That's very impressive; typically if we put in a new rule and it blocks 1/2 million in one day we'd be impressed.  It turns out I went 14 times beyond that.  We have had rules have lots of hits before, but this rule was singlehandedly responsible for blocking tons of spam, it didn't have to be combined with a series of other rules.

Seriously, what would the spam team do without me?

If my co-workers agree that I'm indispensable, do not reply to this post...

But if I'm indispensable, I can't be replaced and hence cannot be promoted.  Hmm...

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  • I've been getting a lot more Rx spam in my Hotmail Inbox in the past few months than I ever did before. About 20% of it gets identified correctly as spam while the rest gets put in with the other good emails. Naturally, using mail.live.com/mobile makes me a little more concerned about receiving these emails in the Inbox because they are just wasted packets IMO.

    Any chance you wizards over on the Spam Team can fix these problems with Hotmail?
  • Hi, Lauren,

    The question you have asked is a good one, however, I have to add the disclaimer that we on the spam team are part of Exchange Hosted Services, formerly Frontbridge Technologies.  We do spam filtering for business mail, not personal mail like Hotmail.  We would do filtering for a large (or small) business.

    Having said that, Hotmail uses a different filtering method which they call SmartScreen and it works quite a bit differently than the technology that we use.  We are not directly involved with it, although we did do a little investigation into a few months back to see how it works.

    Having said that, I have noticed in my Yahoo mail that I am getting more and more spam through (which speaks against the supposed superior performance of Yahoo SpamGuard), just like you do in Hotmail.  While there is little I can to affect Hotmail's spam filter, what I can advise you is that they are doing the best they can.  Use the "Report as spam" button in Hotmail (or Live Mail -- I don't use Live Mail yet so I am guessing as to the interface).  I can feel your pain and I think it would be an interesting project one day to collaborate with the SmartScreen folks some time in the future.
  • Seriously I am so glad for you and Microsoft but I get about 50 e-mails / day of which 40 are SPAM to buy Viagra and V1Agr@ ... I only hope that when companies apply these kind of anti spam rules doesn't just mean ignore the SPAM. I want this kind of SPAM to just stop but if you know block 7 millions of that type of SPAM you are just ignoring it.
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