Feeds

Lighten up: spam should be a game

Play nice, now

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Treating spam as if it was a game could be the key to the undoing of bulk-mailers everywhere, according to a Greek scientist.

A team of researchers at Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece, led by Ion Androutsopoulos, says that by taking this approach, ISPs and businesses can improve their spam filters - finding the perfect balance between false positives and false negatives in spam identification.

Androutsopoulos approaches the business of filtering spam by modelling it as a game between the spammer and the mail-box owner, with a small sum of cash at stake for each email sent and received, or blocked, New Scientist reports.

The model performs a cost benefit analysis on the spam filter: each legitimate email that is delivered successfully is counted as a benefit, while each real mail eaten by the filter (a false positive) gets marked as a cost. Similarly, each email sent by the bulk-mailer is counted as a cost, with a benefit being recorded each time an unsolicited mail sneaks through (a false negative).

So, to model the costs and benefits of any particular filter, all you need to know are the number of false positives and false negatives. Androutsopoulos' idea is that companies could use the model to tune their filters to either maximise the cost to the spammer, or maximise the benefit to the user.

The paper will be presented at the Conference on Email and Anti-Spam at Stanford University. ®

Related stories

Small.biz gets more spam
German court rules email blocking 'illegal'
UK firm fingered in US XXX spam probe

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.