Spam Museum, Austin - MN
Unsolicited Bulk Email and Unsolicited Commercial Email, known
as, spam, represents a very large percentage
of the mail messages flowing over the Internet very day.
Spammers take advantage of the
near-zero cost of sending email to flood the network, knowing that
success even very few times means a profit.
The cost of spam worldwide was estimated in 39 billion Euro in 2005.
Solutions exist to reduce the amount of spam seen by end users, but cannot
withstand sophisticated attacks. Moreover, these solutions occasionally
misclassify and silently drop legitimate email.
The goal of this project is to characterize the spam traffic and
identify its patterns and the factors influencing its distribution.
Our studies rely on measurements collected on the mail servers of the
Computing Center of the University of Pavia that provide email
services to more than 5,000 users. The measurements include the standard
log files produced by Postfix as well as the logs produced by the
Sophos PureMessage anti-spam solution running on the servers.
Moreover, the project analyzes the message
headers and bodies with the objective of identifying the "tricks"
used by spammers to fool the filters and studying their evolution.