All You Need to Know About Spam Filtering

Bruce Markey

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Spam messages are absolute productivity killers and outright annoying. They are unwanted, distracting and sometimes even malicious. In places like business organizations where email is the dominant means of communication, clogged up inboxes with thousands of unwanted mails is certainly bad. What’s more worrisome is that spamming has existed ever since the inception of emails and unfortunately there is no stopping to it. Spammers get smarter and subtler every day to penetrate our inboxes in one way or the other.

Spam is so inevitably rampant that 60% of the emails circulated every day is basically spam. Though it is impossible to make emails 100% spam-free, it is possible to avoid spam entering your email system. Spam filtering is the most effective way to tackle spamming and in this article will give a brief introduction to spam filters, different types of spam filters and their need in today’s world.

What is Spam Filtering?

Spam filtering is a process that involves screening of every incoming and outgoing message to find certain recurring patterns and filter out those messages that seem redundant, unwanted or malicious. Email servers of organizations will be equipped with Mail Exchange (MX) records that consist of many filters to identify spam. Thus, an incoming message has to pass through all of these filters before entering the email server and if it shows any signs of a spam message, these filters will identify the message and quarantine it in the mail exchange record. This ensures that all the spam messages are kept at bay and the email server process only mails that are wanted thus keeping the inboxes clean.

Different Types of Spam Filters

1. List Based Filters - These filters identify messages that are coming from blocked IP addresses and prevent them from entering the email server. The filters are an extensive database of all the blacklisted (blocked) and whitelisted (permitted) IP addresses that keeps updating every now and then.

2. Content Based Filters - Unlike list based filters, this type screens the messages based on the content present within the mail and the attachments they carry. Messages carrying keywords, phrases and attachments that resemble spam are identified and blocked from reaching the server.

3. Others - Though list based and content based filters are the most used ones, there are other spam filters like challenge/response systems and collaborative filters.

Importance of Spam Filtering

• If 60% of the inbox is filled with spam, a lot of your time is lost in reading these mails and deleting them from your inbox. This is a huge blow to your organization’s productivity.

• Spam messages are sometimes intended to breach your network security and forcefully infiltrate your systems. Mails with viruses, malwares and Trojan horses are sent to your computer systems in the disguise of a spam mail.

• If 60% of the messages passing through the email server is spam, that is a huge waste of resource and time. It’s like organizations incurring additional costs for processing mails that are not even wanted.

Securence is a leading provider of enterprise email filtering software that offers email protection and security services such as encrypted email, spam filtering, email archiving and continuity solutions to small and large businesses. To learn more about our email filtering solutions, visit


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