Anti-Spam Articles

This is a collection of antispam articles and white papers that discuss spam, UBE (unsolicited bulk email) and UCE (unsolicited commercial email) problems and ways to avoid them. The articles are in PDF format, and you will need a PDF reader to see them; if you don’t already have one, download the latest version. If you have an article that you would like to share with the community then kindly submit your article to so that it may be posted to this section.

Spam: those emails your company can do without
Unsolicited email, or spam as it is more commonly referred to, is a problem for companies because of its ability to change regularly, inundate mailboxes with useless emails, affect employee productivity and pose a security risk. Over the past two years, companies have seen a huge increase in spam volumes and types and this, in the main, is a reflection of the success registered by spammers to gain access to end users’ mailboxes and, more importantly, their ability to bypass the various methods used to detect these types of email.

Author: GFI Software


The State of Spam (May 2008 report)
Each month, Symantec publishes its “State of Spam” report, highlighting major spam events or trends observed during the previous month. The report covers broad events that impact everyone, as well as those that affect a particular region of the world.

Author: Symantec


The State of Spam (April 2008 report)
Each month, Symantec publishes its “State of Spam” report, highlighting major spam events or trends observed during the previous month. The report covers broad events that impact everyone, as well as those that affect a particular region of the world.

Author: Symantec


Drowning in Sewage: SPAM, the curse of the new millenium: an overview and white paper
A complete spam white paper by David Harris, a council member of InternetNZ, touches on several areas of spam. It starts by seeking a definition of spam and the different types. Then it moves on to explain the protagonists (the spammers, the spam fighters, neutrals etc), the propagation of spam, its prevention and finally prescription, in which spam is examined from a legal standpoint.

Author: David Harris


 Can Laws Block Spam?
The massive amounts of unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam) that have choked our inboxes worldwide for the past few years have created a very rare occurrence amongst some of the world’s political powers: Agreement! Not only in agreement but in action – The United States, the European Community, Australia and the United Kingdom have all recently implemented legislation regulating the control and handling of unsolicited commercial e-mails. The complexity of this issue and the widely divergent approaches being used to address the spam problem are apparent in the different legislative approaches that these countries have used. However, the question still remains… Can spam ever be controlled through legislation?

Author: Vircom, inc.


Do-It-Yourself Anti-Spam
A step-by-step guide to fighting spam from an alternate approach, giving you greater control than most other solutions on what enters your mailbox and what stays out completely, with all the benefits that disposable email gives you. This cheap method will put an end to continuous spamming and reduce the load on your mail server!

Author: John Hart (SpamHelp)


The Anti-Spam Buyer’s Guide
This Buyer’s Guide was put together by Vircom to allow you to take a breath and understand the challenges and goals faced by your organization when selecting an anti-spam vendor. At Vircom we believe that the best policy an anti-spam vendor can adopt is openness and honesty, and we hope to share with you some of the insights and wisdom we have gained by being on the anti-spam market since 1997.

Author: Vircom, inc.


How can I configure Outlook 2003 to block spam?
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 includes features and functionality designed to help block much of the junk e-mail messages (or spam) that you receive. These features give you more control over the kinds of messages delivered to your Inbox, and from whom you want to receive messages. Although these features are not customizable, they do provide a means for reducing the amount of incoming spam. In combination with good rules that you manually create – you can get an 80% spam-blocking rate.

Author: Daniel Petri


How can I configure Exchange Server 2003 to block spam?
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 now has built-in Open Relay Filter (ORFilter) or DNS Blacklist and real-time Blackhole List (DNSBL, RBL) capabilities, which releases us from the need to rely on 3rd party software for spam filtering. These features are far from complete, and using 3rd party software is still recommended, but for small businesses or companies that cannot afford these products, – Exchange Server 2003 can now handle most of the job.

Author: Daniel Petri


Typical Spam Characteristics: How to effectively block spam and junk mail
This article discusses how spam messages can be distinguished from legitimate messages by looking at email headers and message content. It also mentions how spam can be blocked effectively by taking these typical spam characteristics into account.

Author: Red Earth Software


You’ve got spam! Now what?
Spam is a perplexing topic. Most people find it annoying, but few agree on anything past that starting point. What is spam? How much does spam cost a company? And, most importantly, what can we do about it? Each of these questions leads to heated discussions, as each speaker is sure they have the one true answer. In this paper, we’ll take a look at what Spam is, the direct and indirect costs of spam, and what can be done about spam.

Author: Novell, Inc.


Microsoft Outlook 2003 Spam Filter: Under the hood
This article describes in detail how the built-in Microsoft Outlook 2003 junk mail filter based on “state-of-the-art technology developed by Microsoft Research” works. Critical holes in Microsoft’s technology are also covered and will prove to be very useful to technical specialists and non-technical readers who are interested in spam protection technologies. Software developers will find a couple of exercises we’ve prepared for them to check if they have learnt to detect junk mail with up-to-six-decimal-digits accuracy, as the filter does.

Author: MAPILab Ltd.


Anti-Spam Approaches
Many of today’s anti-spam software solutions use not just one, but multiple methods of spam filtering. AmikaNow! has prepared this table which highlights a few of the most popular filtering methods employed and suggests issues that one must look at in further detail for each of the methods mentioned.

Author: AmikaNow! Corporation


The Economics of Spam
The rising tide of unwanted emails threatens to swamp our inboxes and drown out the messages we do want. But why? The “junk mail” that the postal service delivers is not increasing at the same alarming rate. Some mail delivered by the postal service might be annoying, but the unwanted email we refer to as spam is way beyond annoying. All spam is irrelevant and intrusive but an alarming amount is offensive, fraudulent and illegal. And that’s not all: spam is a burden to the person who gets it and the network of entities that deliver it.

Author: ePrivacy Group


Spam by the Numbers
Dozens of statistics about the unwanted mass email known as spam have been collected by ePrivacy Group from a variety of sources to help educate the public about the extent of this problem. The numbers quoted include percentages, ratios, and amounts. Unless otherwise noted, all monetary amounts quoted within are in U.S. dollars.

Author: ePrivacy Group


The Nigerian Spam Scam Exposed
Ever wondered what would happen if you ever responded to one of the many Nigerian spam scams? Zone-H has done just that and has chronicled every step in this paper, from the first email exchange to the final phone call where they agreed to meet the scammers in Nigeria.

Author: Zone-H


How Do I Stop Spam? – A Short Spam Tutorial
Are you as tired as we are watching your inbox fill up every day with dozens of useless emails that try to sell you everything from laundry soap, to the latest get-rich scheme and free porno offers? This stuff is a real pain. It wastes lots of the time and energy you could be devoting to your business, job, web surfing, etc. If you spend 10 min. a day reviewing, sorting, and deleting spam, you’re wasting 5 prime hours a month that you could be devoting to something productive. A Short Spam Tutorial is provided as a sample chapter of the excellent “How Do I Stop Spam?” book and presents a brief background of spam, including its definition, history, costs, how spammers benefit, and methods they use to get your email address.

Author: Mastery Unlimited


Spam: The Silent ROI Killer
Nucleus Research analyzes the impact of spam on employee productivity, interviewing employees and IT administrators to help them conduct their study. They carry out estimates for costs per employee when using a spam filter and when not. They find out that companywide spam filters only reduce the productivity loss from spam by 26%, due to other problems that arise out of the usage of the spam filters themselves. Nucleus also found that productivity and IT impact are not the only concerns of administrators in managing spam. Many companies worry that even with filters, unsolicited e-mails sent to employees may provoke legal action.

Author: Nucleus Research, Inc.


False Claims in Spam
In this report, staff of the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) Division of Marketing Practices describes the results of its review of approximately 1,000 pieces of unsolicited commercial email (UCE), commonly known as “spam.” This random sample was drawn from a pool of over 11,000,000 pieces of spam. This study, which focuses on the likely truth or falsity of claims contained in the messages, supplements two previous FTC studies of spam – the “Spam Harvest” (finding that 86% of addresses posted to web pages and newsgroups received spam) and the “Remove Me Surf” (finding that 63% of email list removal requests were not honoured).

Author: Federal Trade Commission


Why Am I Getting All This Spam?
In the summer of 2002, CDT embarked on a project to attempt to determine the source of spam. To do so, we set up hundreds of different e-mail addresses, used them for a single purpose, and then waited six months to see what kind of mail those addresses were receiving. It should come as no surprise to most e-mail users that many of the addresses CDT created for this study attracted spam, but it is very interesting to see the different ways that e-mail addresses attracted spam — and the different volumes — depending on where the e-mail addresses were used. The results offer Internet users insights about what online behaviour results in the most spam. The results also debunk some of the myths about spam.

Copyright © 2003 by CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY & TECHNOLOGY. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at