Mail filtering update in wiscmail report on current status and future plans
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Mail Filtering Update in WiscMail – Report on Current Status and Future Plans ITC Briefing Friday January 16 th , 2004 WiscMail Quick Summary WiscMail Currently Serves 67,500 Users WiscMail has 1.8 TB of Storage Allocated Over 6,000 Viruses Daily Over 400,000 Pieces of SPAM Daily

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Mail Filtering Update in WiscMail – Report on Current Status and Future Plans

ITC Briefing

Friday January 16th, 2004


Wiscmail quick summary l.jpg
WiscMail Quick Summary Status

  • WiscMail Currently Serves 67,500 Users

  • WiscMail has 1.8 TB of Storage Allocated

  • Over 6,000 Viruses Daily

  • Over 400,000 Pieces of SPAM Daily

  • SPAM Filtering Introduced, July, 2003



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Message Status Composition January 2004


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The Goals & Requirements of the Filtering Project Have Been Met

  • Reduce SPAM by 80% or More

    • Anecdotal user evidence as well as vendor evidence show over 90% accuracy

  • Comply with legal mandates that prevent system wide SPAM filtering – filters must be applied using an individual Opt-In basis

    • All users can opt-in to have their mail filtered.

    • Other users’ mail is not interfered with


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The Goals & Requirements of the Filtering Project Have Been Met

  • Provide an option to select levels of filtering

    • The provided user interface allows 7 levels of sensitivity

  • System must perform well and be scalable as message volumes increase

    • The spam scanners add less than 1 second delay to message delivery

  • Provide a Web Interface to system

    • A custom interface has been built to allow users to filter their mail


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The Goals & Requirements of the Filtering Project Have Been Met

  • Compatible with WiscMail SunOne message system

    • Filters are based on the Sieve mail filtering language, which is a feature of SunOne

  • Vendor supported system

    • The Spam scanners are running PureMessage, a product of Sophos


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How WiscMail Anti-Spam Works Met

  • Scan the messages

    • All potentially unsafe messages are scanned

    • Messages are marked with a spam “score” and then delivered as intended


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How WiscMail Anti-Spam Works Met

  • Filter the messages

    • Users can choose (opt-in) and Control

      • Whether or not to filter spam messages

      • What threshold (based on spam score) to filter spam

      • To use their local email client to filter spam instead of the provide server filters. (e.g. POP users)



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Front Line Filters Met

  • Site-wide filters can be created to block specific messages from entering the system

    • Hundreds of thousands of SoBig messages stopped using this method.

    • Commonly used in stopping large virus outbreaks.

    • Saves load on spam and virus scanners.


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User Filters Met

  • Users can configure their own filters

    • Filters are executed by the server, not the local email client

    • Over 13,000 users participating

    • Filter SPAM into “Junk Mail” folder


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User Filters Met

  • Users can configure their own filters

    • Create filters to bypass the spam filter

      • White List – mail from senders always stay in Inbox

      • Black List – mail from senders always go to Junk Mail

      • Mailing Lists – mail to list addresses always stay in Inbox

    • Custom Filters

      • Create custom criteria for filtering messages into specific folders



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WiscMail Message Flow Met

Anti-Spam

Message Store

Internet

MTA

Junk Mail

Anti-

Virus

Filters

INBOX

Any Folder

UW


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The War on Spam Met

  • The Good

    • Anti-Spam companies are out-spending and out-smarting spammers

      • New spamming techniques provide only short term gains for the spammers before the anti-spam companies thwart them

    • Legislation may help prevent US based spam


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The War on Spam Met

  • The Bad

    • Spammers learn how to get past filters

      • Requires constant monitoring and research by vendors

    • Legislation has no effect on foreign spam

      • A Do-Not-Spam List may be exploited by these spammers

    • Spam volumes are increasing

      • Now around 50% of total mail volumes


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The War on Spam Met

  • The Ugly

    • The SMTP protocol is inadequate

      • It allows spammers to lie

    • Spammers are teaming up with virus writers

      • Virus-infected computers DoS attack Anti-Spam services (RBLs)

      • Virus-infected computers send spam

      • SoBig is an example of this


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Problems we are having Met

  • User Participation and Knowledge

    • Advertisements have only enticed 13,000 users to participate in the filtering service

    • We do not know who is using the service with client filters (e.g. POP users)

    • Some users do not understand that they have to opt-in

    • Many users do not understand that SPAM detection is not an exact science


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Future Plans for the Anti-Spam Project Met

  • Further integrate anti-spam and anti-virus

    • Increase performance by combining virus and spam detection into a single operation

    • Develop a process to automatically tag viruses as spam

  • Possible use of quarantining

    • Keep spam on spam servers instead of Junk Mail folder

    • Users can choose what to do with the messages that are quarantined



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