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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

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

ITC Briefing

Friday January 16th, 2004

wiscmail quick summary
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
  • SPAM Filtering Introduced, July, 2003
the goals requirements of the filtering project have been met
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
the goals requirements of the filtering project have been met6
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
the goals requirements of the filtering project have been met7
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
how wiscmail anti spam works
How WiscMail Anti-Spam Works
  • Scan the messages
    • All potentially unsafe messages are scanned
    • Messages are marked with a spam “score” and then delivered as intended
how wiscmail anti spam works9
How WiscMail Anti-Spam Works
  • 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)
front line filters
Front Line Filters
  • 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.
user filters
User Filters
  • 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
user filters13
User Filters
  • 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
wiscmail message flow
WiscMail Message Flow

Anti-Spam

Message Store

Internet

MTA

Junk Mail

Anti-

Virus

Filters

INBOX

Any Folder

UW

the war on spam
The War on Spam
  • 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
the war on spam17
The War on Spam
  • 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
the war on spam18
The War on Spam
  • 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
problems we are having
Problems we are having
  • 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
future plans for the anti spam project
Future Plans for the Anti-Spam Project
  • 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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