Spammers Are Getting Better at Avoiding Spam Filters


A new study has revealed some disappointing news. Spammers are increasingly successful
in evading spam filters. Does this mean spammers are getting better at their craft or are spam filters slacking? That answer isn’t clear but researchers at VB UK, who ran the study, speculate that the increase of botnet takedowns may be driving spammers to find new ways to get away with their old tricks:

 “This is a worrying trend that, from the end-user’s point of view, undoes a lot of the good work that has been done in reducing the global volume of spam,” says VB UK’s Martin Grooten. “When we first reported this trend back in March, many responded by saying that catch rates are still high. While this is true, and we’re certainly not losing the war against spam yet, we are losing an important battle.”

The study was completed by sending 131,182 emails between June and July 9th. 120,763 of those messages were spam. The researchers tested 21 anti-spam software solutions to see how much of the spam they sent was caught. While 20 of the 21 products passed the test, all of them scored much lower than they had on a similar study conducted earlier this year. Scores ranged from 99.87 to 97.10.

Does this mean anti-spam software needs to get tougher? Perhaps, but spam filters walk a fine line between doing a good job and doing TOO good a job. Overly strict filters flag legit mail as well as spam, and that’s unacceptable to a lot of people. Anti-spam vendors are going to have to find just the right formula to banish spam while leaving legit mail alone.

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Rob Walters · August 4, 2012

    This is not surprising, though certainly it isn’t good news. Spammers spam for a living (or for the millions they can make) and while there is money in spam, they will invest in ways to spam. We’ll invest in ways to stay spam free. It’s a vicious circle – I don’t see it end in the near, far, or distant future.

  2. Chris · August 9, 2012

    They should create some sort of validation system where mailboxes get a trust rating – particularly beneficial for companies that use email well!

Leave A Reply