Virus Bulletin Spam Filter Test

Published: 2012-03-21
Last Updated: 2012-03-21 00:54:57 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
1 comment(s)

Virus Bulletin updated its spam filter test, and found that compared to last year, spam filters are doing worse. Sadly, the detailed results are only for paid subscribers. But Virus Bulletin published a brief summary of the latest result as a teaser [1]. 

I think this is not all bad news. To understand this, one has to consider that the overall volume of spam has dropped significantly. The take down of some large botnets removed a lot of easy to classify spam off the net, leaving a more diverse "spam zoo" that is not as easy to classify. So I don't think this trend is as "worrying" as Virus Bulletin makes it sound. 




Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.
SANS Technology Institute

Keywords: spam
1 comment(s)


According to our local statistics the spam levels are fairly constant - we catch the same percentage and the actual count is also fairly stable (+/- 5%). We employ both upfront RBL blocks and spamassassin which combined remove about 90-95% of the attempted mail deliveries as spam. This leaves 1-5 daily spam messages in my inbox which are easily deleted when they arrive. No biggie. The effort that would go into making the automatic detection and filtering even better just isn't worth it as it's much easier just to hit delete a few times every day.

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