Monday, 06 October, 2003

Sendmail author on spam

Eric Allman, creator of Sendmail, has weighed in on the spam problem with a well written article about the current state of spam, possible methods of preventing it, and problems inherent with those techniques.  He doesn't paint a pretty picture.  With the spam doubling rate at something like 8 weeks, a spam filter that lets through only 1.5 percent of spam will, in one year, be letting through as much spam as it blocks today.  So if your filter is blocking 197 out of 200 messages today, in a year it will be letting 197 messages through!  It's a big problem.  As Allman says:  It's an arms race and nobody wins but the arms dealers.

Allman is the latest in the growing number of informed industry leaders who agrees that protocol changes are required.  They're not going to happen quickly, though.  He mentions a time frame of 10 years!  It looks like filtering is the only possible short-term solution.  Gah!