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Spam filtering nears breakdown, cautions expert

  • 14 September, 2005 14:27

<p>SYDNEY, September 14. Traditional spam filtering breaks down when a user receives 30 or more per day in his or her in-box, according to New Millennium Solutions (NMS) Chairman, Peter Stewart.</p>
<p>He believes that thousands of office workers are nearing the critical point at which their filtering ceases to be effective, because of the high volumes they receive.</p>
<p>NMS puts spam levels into three categories: none, trickle (2-3 a day) and flood (30 or more a day). Stewart says junk email is a nuisance up to 2-3 per day, then some automation (usually filtering) is required.</p>
<p>He explains: “The filtering approach was designed to handle junk mail for people receiving between zero and sufficient numbers to cause a nuisance. The real issue now is for people in the flood category, where filtering is not viable.”</p>
<p>Figures vary for the volume of unwanted mail. For NMS’s own clients it averages 90%, while other reports show it to be around 80%. Using 80% means that four out of five mails for users in the ‘flood’ category need to be marked, filtered, re-directed, quarantined and possibly archived.</p>
<p>High volumes are starting to strain the filtering approach because the filter has to take action on each mail it determines to be unwanted. This strains computing resources and also obliges recipients to take some action. Because the mail may have come from a source that has sent mail before, the receiver cannot ignore it. Efforts to check mail increase exponentially as the volumes grow.</p>
<p>The alternative to filtering lies in the challenge-response method of dealing with spam, as used by the NMS’s Australian-developed TotalBlock solution. There is no limit to the volumes of spam challenge-response can handle because a user deals only with wanted email. For a few dollars a week per user, TotalBlock can save time lost in dealing with spam - worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a week, to organisations.</p>
<p>Stewart asserts that for anything over 30 junk emails a day, TotalBlock’s challenge-response capability leaves a company well ahead in dollar terms.</p>
<p>TotalBlock technology blocks ALL spam, using a combination of allowable list, un-allowable list and challenge-response methodology. TotalBlock quickly and easily builds up a list of acceptable incoming email senders by replying automatically to all those who are not on the user’s allowed list. The reply message contains an action that, when followed by the sender, automatically adds the sender to the allowed list. Since the authorisation process requires human intervention, it bypasses drone machines that spew out so much spam. All address book entries are authorised automatically, as are senders who reply to mail sent by the user.</p>
<p># # #</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>Peter Stewart or Ben Corby
New Millennium Solutions
Tel. 61-2-9437 9800</p>

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