Friday, May 23

A Plan For No Spam

        Unwanted and irrelevant mass mailings, commonly known as spam are becoming a serious nuisance that if left unchecked may soon be regarded as a Denial of Service Attack against the email infrastructure of the Internet itself.

Best Practices

        The traditional response of the internet to problem uses administrators of deployed protocols is to specify some form of 'Best Practices'. Spam is an attack on the Internet community. The short survey and prosecutions by the FTC and others show that the spam senders are in many cases outright criminals, how then can best practices help? One area in which best practices can provide concrete benefit is in ensuring that the vast majority of Internet users who are acting in good faith do not inadvertently make the problem worse by poorly chosen or poorly coordinated mitigation strategies. 

Naive Keyword Inspection  

        Messages are scanned for the presence of words or phrases that occur frequently in spam messages such as HGH or multi-level marketing. This type of filtering is implemented in many common email clients such as Outlook [MSFT].    Keyword Inspection alone is simple to implement but tends to have very high rate of false positives.

Authentication And Authorization

        Practically all spam messages sent today attempt to evade anti-spam measures by use of false header information. None of the spam messages that were examined in the writing of this paper carried a genuine sender address. Most of the massages contained from addresses that were obviously fake. In some cases the addresses were not even valid. Some contained no sender address at all. 

Legislation And Litigation

        The purpose of criminal legislation in a democratic is to deter persons from engaging in prohibited conduct. While it is unlikely that the criminal legislation alone would eliminate spam. Such legislation would certainly create a deterrent for both the spam senders and the advertisers seeking their services. The legislative process is very slow & time consuming. Legislators are reluctant to pass any legislation until they are confident that the implications are fully understood. Legislators will have to be convinced that any new legislation to address the problem of spam will bring benefits that significantly outweigh both the cost of enforcement and the political cost of committing the scarce resource of legislative time to the problem of spam rather than to other pressing problems.


        There are many techniques that address a part of the spam problem. No currently known technique provides a complete solution and it is unlikely that address a part of the problem. No currently known technique provides a complete solution and it is unlikely that any technique will be found in the future that provides a complete and costless solution.


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