•   about 10 years ago

The answer: All the above

One of the main lessons we learned from dealing with spam is that the problem is much bigger than one clever idea. The bad guys also have clever ideas and there are lots of them.

So the way that email spam systems work is that they throw a whole arsenal of filtering and legal techniques at the bad guys. We chase them down and swamp them with lawsuits, we use content analysis and trafic signals and IP addresses and all sorts of 'signals' to identify spam and filter it out. And we constantly check the effectiveness of each technique so that we can apply the ones that are most reliable and offer best value for money.

And it is money, at the height of the spam crisis AOL told me they have a football field sized data center for their email system and 95% of it was spam filtering. The electricity used was horrendous.

So it is not really a question of which clever idea to choose but how to change the telephone system so that that we can apply them and respond to the bad guys as quickly as they come up with new types of abuse.


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