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Spam and Anti-Spam Measures: A Look at Potential Impacts Definitions of Spam

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definitions of spam
Definitions of Spam
  • Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send-- most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.
why spamming could become a serious problem
Why spamming could become a Serious Problem
  • 1. cost-shifting: sending spam is extremely cheap
  • 2. fraud: spams pretend to be replies or follow-ups to previous inquiries to get people into opening messages.
  • 3. disguise origin: spammers can easily disguise the origin of their spam messages.
anti spam measures
Anti-Spam Measures
  • Content-based filtering
  • Body-based filtering
  • Origin-based filtering
  • Blocking
  • content-based filtering
    • targets the information contained in the body of a mail message or the information contained in the message header
Body-based filtering
    • A large part of spam messages advertises the same type of products and accordingly tends to use a certain vocabulary.
    • Based on this knowledge it is possible to design spam filters that filter messages containing terms that are "typical" for above mentioned types of messages.
    • "Learning" spam filters can be fed new spam instances that have not yet been identified by the software.
Origin-based filtering
    • often spam is sent through mail servers that are known to be operated by spam-friendly companies. spam messages may also show features that are characteristic for spammers trying to disguise the origin of their messages
    • a particular mail server is often used for sending spam it is possible to configure the own mail server such that mails from the suspicious server are no longer accepted. such blocking approaches can use IPs address, domain names and other information provided during the "handshake" between mail servers.
impacts of anti spam measures
Impacts of Anti-spam Measures
  • ex) content-based filtering methods may prevent delivery of legitimate content or email:
    • 1. the filter software SurfWatch blocks access to the White House home page because the site used the world "couples”.
    • 2. members of the British parliament did not receive messages relating to the "Sexual offences Bill" under discussion. assumed to be porn the messages had been filtered by anti-spam filters.
alternative anti spam approaches
Alternative Anti-spam Approaches
  • Filter/Block-Free Communication Channels

-This approaches are block/filter free in the sense that no further blocking/filtering needs to be applied to message once they met an "entry criteria". This means that it is not necessary to have computers calculate legitimacy of emails.

  • "Pricing via processing"

-Senders have to compute complex "pricing" functions in order to get a token that allows them to deliver mail. Spammers would not have the resources to compute a large number of tokens.

alternative anti spam approaches10
Alternative Anti-spam Approaches
  • "selling interrupt rights"

-Spammers would not be willing to pay. such approaches could be used to make sure that filter-free and block-free communication channels do exist.

  • Networks of "Trustworthy" ISPs

-A network of "trustworthy" mail servers that are allowed to deliver messages to corporate communication channels that are not spam-filtered.

  • Increasing interest in online communities and the trend towards e-government suggest there are quite a few areas in which impacts of anti-spam measures need to be clarified.