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What's spam... and what's news?

Security experts often note that there is one easy way to have totally impenetrable security – don't connect to a network. Somewhat along those lines, maybe the best way to deal with e-mail spam is to not get e-mail messages at all? That seems to be the way that some spam filters seem to work – at least the ones that I have had experience with so far.

We get a lot of spam here – it is one of the down sides of having easily accessible e-mail addresses. So if there is a spam message floating around there, chances are that we get it here. Earlier this year, our IT shop tried to use a spam filter, but it did not allow us to check what messages were being blocked. For us, that is absolutely essential. We get messages from all over the place, and I can only imagine how difficult for software to assess what is spam and what isn't. Some are seemingly obvious, but even the messages telling that my eBay account is about to be cancelled – I can't block messages that include eBay because what if some company is selling federal property using eBay? So it is very complex.

We eventually moved to a new system made by Barracuda Networks. It was better, but still messages were mysteriously disappearing such as e-mail exchanges with our cartoonist. As always, messages like that, which I am expecting each week, are easy to track down. What I get more concerned about are the message that I don't know about that mysteriously disappear.

Our business is somewhat unique, and I acknowledge that. In our case, we need to error on the side of getting spam because software cannot accurately assess what is spam and what is news.

So, unfortunately we have had to pull the editorial part of our organization off the spam filter altogether.

Just in case you think you are the only one who ever has software issues.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Sep 16, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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