Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Federal Trade Commission (U.S.) Releases Spam Filter Study

The Federal Trade Commission, an American government agency, just released a study that concludes that Internet providers are getting better at blocking junk messages so they can't reach users' inboxes.

From the overview:

"The study showed that the anti-spam filters utilized by two free web-based ISPs effectively blocked the vast majority of spam sent to harvested addresses. The implication of this finding is that ISP spam filtering technologies are substantially reducing the burden of spam on consumers. Nevertheless, spam sent to harvested addresses imposes costs on ISPs receiving the spam. "

"(...) the study measured the effectiveness of using 'masked' email addresses as a possible technique in preventing harvesting. The 'masking' of an email address involves altering the appearance of an email address so that it is understandable by a person who sees
the address, but less likely to be discernable by automated harvesting software. For example, to mask an unmasked email address such as 'johndoe@ftc.gov,' the words 'at' and 'dot' can be written out, and segments of the email address can be separated by spaces. The masked version of the address would appear as 'johndoe at ftc dot gov.' The study found that the 'masking' of an email address was very effective in thwarting harvesting."

From the conclusion:

"Notably, the fact that the vast majority of spam sent to harvested addresses in this study was never delivered to consumers’ inboxes demonstrates the relative effectiveness of the two ISPs’ spam filters. This encouraging result suggests that anti-spam technologies may be dramatically reducing the burden of spam on consumers."
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:54 pm

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