During this latest spam glut, I would just like to mention that we, on the spam team, are working very hard to combat this latest threat. In the past, we used to get spam outbreaks every few months. Then it was every couple of months, then once a month. This past year it started once every two weeks, then it summer it moved up to once a week. Now, we get new spam outbreaks two or three times per week. Volume doesn’t drop off for one or two days, it drops off for maybe 12-16 hours before the next spam blitz occurs.
Imagine if the traffic on the LA freeways doubled in a span of eight weeks. That is very similar to what has happened over our networks. Many of us are working longer hours trying to process as much as we can. We are implementing strategies and applying them conservatively because data to do extensive historical backtesting takes time to acquire. We can implement large internal blocklists based on internal data but because spammers are moving their IP addresses so quickly it is virtually impossible to get any good pre-emptive measures in place. All of the members of the spam team are putting in an incredible amount of effort to solve the problem. We aren’t ignoring spam submissions, there are 5000 – 20,000 submissions per day and it takes us time to get through them all.
Believe it or not, our end-to-end spam filtering efficiency hasn’t dropped all that much. We still block about as much spam percentage wise as we did several months ago. The reason people see so much in their inboxes (where “so much” is a relative term) is because there is so much traffic flowing around. Like I said, our resources are stretched as much as they can go but that’s because there is literally so much to do 8 hours a day per spam analyst sometimes doesn’t seem like enough.
And if only we worked 8 hours a day…