Security optimize

Blocked spam hits a new record


I work for a small to medium sized company. We have about 100 mailboxes, some of which have been around for more than ten years.  As evidence that spam continues to get worse, I present the following chart from our Commtouch management console.  It shows that 1.2 million pieces of spam were blocked from our mailboxes in the past 30 days.

For those who are not familiar with Commtouch, it is an outside spam blocking service similar to Postini, now a part of Google (Postini, that is, not Commtouch). I have been using the Commtouch service for several years now and am very pleased.  In the past three years I think I can count on one hand the number of false positives that have been blocked.

If you look closely you will see that email blocked as spam is up to 96% of the total received.  Do the numbers and it averages out to 12,865 pieces of spam per mailbox per month.  Thats 428 pieces per day.  In reality, the majority of the spam goes to about 15 or 20 mailboxes that are publicly listed or that have been around the longest.  Amazing!

I pity the poor network administrator who doesn't have some sort of spam blocking service or spam filter in place.  I can't imagine any company today with more than a few mailboxes that hasn't implemented filtering.  I read a recent article in Business Week in which the writer recommended that employees sort and delete their spam as it comes in.

That's a ludicrous proposition for any business today that has more than a few employees or that has an email address that has been around for more than a few months. What a tragic waste of time for the employee and a loss of productivity for the employer.  You may be able to get along without filtering at home but not in a business.

I thought about making a list of the top spam filters in use today but know that I would miss way too many.  The categories include outside service filters, firewall filters, server-based filters, user-based filters, Unix/Linux filters and Windows filters.  I personally like Cloudmark desktop for home or personal use and hate Barracuda that my ISP uses.

I know you Tech Republic readers love to share and I love to read your comments.  What's your favorite spam filter?   Do you have any spam filtering horror stories that we would enjoy reading?

Commtouch Spam Blockage

7 comments
Kurse
Kurse

Small plugin for Exchange, is HIGHLY configurable, tons of filtering options. I love this tool, it works great and so simple to implement! has its own build in statistics and reporting as well. Our spam ratio here is about 98% with just under 100 mailboxes.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I used to hear horror stories about Postini from their early days, but I've been using Postini with the same ISP now for over two years. The web interface is intuitive and allowing or blocking senders is easy. There are even provisions for allowing group mailings (mailing lists, newsgroups, etc.) The corporate mail client is Outlook Web Access, so I strongly suspect the spam filter is affiliated with MS Exchange. The filter will let me know a message has been blocked and send me the subject line, sender of the email, and the first line or two of text (if any) from the email. The configuration is stupid, though. The filter provides me with links to view, deliver, or delete the email, but the links are deactivated "for my protection." One of the consistently blocked emails is the monthly newsletter from the corporate perks partner; I receive no response from the postmaster when I complain... Edit: spelchex

lastchip
lastchip

Does anyone know how SpamAssassin compares (percentage wise) in its effectiveness, compared to the commercial offerings referred to above?

akemper2
akemper2

I admin a very small network with 7 users. Email accounts for four of the users have been around for several years. Email was hopeless because of the endless amount of incomming spam. Users refused to change their email addresses. I signed up for Netriplex Antispam service for $19.99/mo, The service service blocks between 3,500-4,000 spam emails everyday before they even reach my server. The accuracy of their spam filer is amazing. I have been using the service for 6 months and can only count a total of 5 legitimate emails that were blocked from my inbox during that period. All users realized it was a godsend after adding the service, as they open up their inboxes to only see work related emails and nothing else. I have fine turned the service a little at a time and now it is nearly perfect. Truely, 98.5% of all email received is spam. I think it is definety worth the $20/month to just capture that 1.5% and leave the rest behind. Company: DCI in Dayton OH.

dave
dave

Our office uses Messaging Architects GwGuardian for GroupWise and for 2007 total received email was 8,105,000 and of that 7,273,000 was rejected as spam. That's about 90% rejection and in the remainder there is still some spam that gets through, although it is a trivial amount. I'm not sure I am seeing an increase in the amount of spam compared to the previous year where it seemed we were receiving over a million emails a month. Spam is a really big problem and I pity the IT department that isn't using some type of filtering before it reaches their email servers.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Using Brightmail, that's been the percentages we've reported for the past 2-3 years so I don't see an increase...it's always been in the 90's as of late. On our servers we typically see about 800,000 to 1,000,000 emails a month, with somewhere in the 90%+ range being spam. Every decent filter sees those numbers from what I've read...which even that isn't %100 accurate because every filter out there occasionally let's a few spam messages slip by.