Wednesday, 19 June, 2002

SpamAssassin and Vipul's Razor

My friend Darrin Chandler wrote regarding my June 16 entry about spam filtering.  He pointed me at SpamAssassin and Vipul's Razor, two more attempts at spam filtering.  And, sadly, two more that are bound to fail.   SpamAssassin plugs into a number of different places in the email flow, and uses heuristics and blacklists (like Vipul's Razor) to attempt to identify and filter the spam.  SpamAssassin is for Unix and Unix-like (i.e. Linux, BSD, etc.) operating systems.  Perhaps a Windows port is forthcoming?  Vipul's Razor is, according to the web site:

...a distributed, collaborative, spam detection and filtering network. Through user contribution, Razor establishes a distributed and constantly updating catalogue of spam in propagation that is consulted by email clients to filter out known spam. Detection is done with statistical and randomized signatures that efficiently spot mutating spam content.

We'll see how well it works.

Darrin also pointed out a fundamental flaw in my trusted server idea:  getting a critical mass of important ISPs to subscribe to such a thing.  If AOL were to do it, for example, they'd get millions of emails from irate subscribers who all of a sudden can't get email from Aunt Tilly, because Aunt Tilly's ISP doesn't subscribe to the trusted server network.  That's really too bad.  It leads me to believe that most people don't really care about spam.  Sure, they'd like not to get it, but not if it means having to change ISPs or possibly lose communication with Uncle Harold.