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To Beat Spam, Turn Its Own Weapons Against It

By New Scientist

January 27, 2010

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Researchers from the International Computer Science Institute and the University of California, San Diego have developed a method for blocking the most common type of spam. The researchers employed a trick that spammers use to defeat email filters. Each spam message is generated from a template that specifies the message content and a slight variation used to bypass the filter. The researchers analyzed the messages to reveal the template that created them, and since the template describes all the emails a bot will send, possessing it might provide a method of blocking all spam from that bot.

After testing, the team was able to block spam from a specific bot with 100 percent accuracy. In addition, the new system did not produce a single false positive in more than a million messages, says team member Andreas Pitsillidis.

"This is an interesting approach which really differs by using the bots themselves as the oracles for producing the filters," says the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group's Michael O'Reirdan.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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