OIT Messaging Staff "Cans the Spam"
By: Lori Blier, OIT
It is estimated that up to 60% of all internet email is spam, 30% is legitimate mail and the remainder is attributed to virus activity. Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that the State email user community reported a marked overall increase in the amount of spam they’ve received over the last year. In response to these reports, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) messaging staff evaluated additional filtering options available within our current environment. Our goal was to become even more effective in stopping the unwanted messages by utilizing additional features in our existing software resources while ensuring that legitimate messages reach their destination.
To that end, four additional spam filtering methods were proposed. Following a month of testing, the messaging group was granted approval to implement the new filtering options. The new filters include additional tagging criteria for image based, internal-from addressing, and Antigen’s spam keyword list. Our more aggressive approach in filtering also incorporates the activation of two new real-time spam lists (SpamCure and SURBL).
These new filtering options were implemented on April 27th. The SpamCure filter checks each incoming message against its real-time spam list and quarantines the message if the sender is on the list. Those quarantined messages are kept for 14 days. Also, users may have noticed that some messages are coming in with the following “tags” in the subject line flagging them as potential spam messages.
If you have configured an outlook spam filtering rule as outlined in the instructions on the State intranet, you should see that messages tagged from the additional filters are being processed by your existing rule. If you would like to create a spam filtering rule, instructions can be accessed at http://inet.state.me.us/OIT/services/electronicmessaging/help.html under the Outlook Rules section.
The State incoming internet mail system processes an average of 189,301 messages per day! The following table outlines the average number of messages accepted, rejected/quarantined (Spam Lookup Service or SpamCure), and tagged as potential spam per day before and after the implementation of the additional filtering methods.
|Original Spam Filtering Methods||Additional Spam Filtering Methods|
|Total Messages Accepted/Delivered||130,452||91,753|
|Total Messages Rejected/Quarantined||58,849||97,548|
|Total Messages Tagged||1,877||19,293|
These figures represent more than a 25% increase in the amount of spam the system is identifying and rejecting/tagging since these additional measures have been in place. So, if you have noticed a decrease in the amount of unwanted mail (SPAM) that has reached your inbox lately, it is likely the result of the efforts mentioned above.
OIT messaging staff continues to monitor the effectiveness of these spam filters. There are still additional filtering options available that have not been added to our arsenal, and other options become available with each software upgrade. Messaging staff remains vigilant in exploring these options and providing recommendations to management based on the current spam trends and the effectiveness of the filtering options available to us. If you have any concerns, questions or praise regarding our filtering policies, feel free to contact OIT messaging staff by calling the OIT Customer Support Center (624-7700).
For additional recommendations on how you can help “Can the Spam,” take a visit to the Microsoft site for some tips from the Crabby Office Lady http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA010701261033.aspx .