Re: The Spam Monitor

Sent 6/27/2003


We received a message from one of the users on the system today about the spam filters and I thought I would send this info on to all the users as it may be of interest to everyone.

If someone get’s their email to you blocked they get an immediate email response from the server that tells them exactly what to do.  Additionally, during this “break-in” period, I am still doing a review of all blocked mail and forwarding on that look legitimate.

The message the person get’s if they have an email blocked is:
Automated response regarding your rejected email:

Your message to: (the address of who they sent to is placed here)
regarding: (the subject line of their message is placed here)

Did not reach the intended recipient(s) this is most likely due to content in the message that appears, to our Mail Server, to meet enough criteria to be considered SPAM (based on words used in the message, formatting of the text in the message and/or being sent by an Internet service that has a history of tolerating or allowing SPAM to originate from their system).

Some of the reasons for a non-spam email being flagged can be attributed to some of following reasons: You use IncrediMail (or a similar type mailer) and litter your email with formatting and pictures, You do not have a valid return address or you are forwarding a “funny” email that has the headers and address of all the people that it was sent
to before down in the body of the email.

If this description resembles your message try resending it without all that “stuff”

If it is again returned and you feel that your message was genuine and not a SPAM solicitation please forward this message to and CHANGE the Subject Line to: “Please verify”. It will then be placed into a special queue to prompt us to examine and forwarded the original message to the intended recipient(s), if appropriate.

This review is not done “instantly” so please allow some time for us to review the matter before taking additional action (generally within a twenty-four hour period.)  Given the volume of SPAM email captured by our filters
) if you do not request a review on the same day of an email that you feel is valid you run the risk of not having the message reviewed and thus having it summarily deleted from our system without review.

Our filters trap on average, less than five valid email per day out of more than 700 pieces per day that are flagged as containing SPAM and/or pornography.

Summit Internet Services

The spam filters are not triggered by any “one” word.  In fact, the examination process a piece of email goes through is as follows:

1. The sending mail server is compared to four different lists of known “spam” servers.
2. The sending email address is verified
3. The our email server checks to see if the email server that is sending the message is valid
4. That the sending email server is using the correct syntax for language between email servers

If the mail fails 3 of these 4 tests it is not allowed to proceed to the next phase but is immediately deleted. That means that if the incoming message passes half the initial tests it is allowed to continue with additional testing.

5. The server has a “while-list” of valid domains and email addresses that we edit on a daily basis.  If it sees that the mail is from one of these addresses it is supposed to ignore the rest of the checks (for some reason this part is not always working – but is getting better)
6. The message is run against statistical filters that look at
        A. A maximum of fifteen random words from the email
        B. An email has to trigger a 90% probability that it is spam to be considered as such

This statistical filters have the ability to “learn” new words and spam techniques on their own and become more accurate over time.
7. The message is finally run through a phrase filter looking for known word combinations that are typically seen in a spam message.

It is only after completing these steps that the message is then delivered to your in-box. If it fails the sender gets the above message and their email is forwarded to a special mailbox for later review. During this period all mail is reviewed (sometimes continually during the day) but shortly the mail will be subject to review only once a day and then only the mail that is requested to be reviewed will actually be examined.

At 09:50 AM 6/27/2003 -0700, you wrote:

Hi Dave,

We were wondering here in the office if there are any cue words that are written that trigger the monitor to reject their email from getting to us. If there are ways to prevent some of our emails from being blocked by the monitor, can you give us some advice? We still have a few people that are trying to send emails but are blocked. Or, do we just need to email you and say, this person is okay, please put on safe list. Please let me know. Thanks!

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