July 1 2004
Anti-spam vendor Commtouch
issued a press release yesterday, describing
spam trends for the first half of 2004.
While the release has some interesting information about the content
of spam, I was much more intrigued by their citation that they are now
tracking a half-million spam mailings per day, up from 350K at the
beginning of 2004. Commtouch, whom I met with during the Inbox 2004
conference last month, has an interesting approach to anti-spam. They
look more at mailing patterns than content, and so they try to track the
start, scope, and type of an unrequested mass-mailing. Apparently
their approach is pretty successful. It also gives them a heck of
a lot of data for profiling spam.
A half-million "outbreaks" per day -- assuming that each is sent to thousands of e-mail addresses, that means there are over a billion unrequested e-mails a day junking up the works. No wonder most still see this as a big problem.
I suppose you might be thinking, well, what's IBM going to do about it, Ed? Apparently there are a number of things going on. Lotus Workplace 2.0 has a technology preview of some of the work IBM Research has devised on the subject. I'm looking for some links; some of it is covered in the ID504 presentation from Lotusphere. Other pieces are being covered in papers IBM researchers have submitted to the First Conference on Email and Anti-Spam. And of course, we have a huge partner community, of which Commtouch is just one example, who make spam defeat their mission every single day. The problem is not insurmountable. I receive no more than two spam messages per day that actually pass through IBM's filters into my corporate inbox -- not bad, considering it used to be more than 100 a day there.