The killer application of the Internet is being strangled to death. Over the last year I had seen numbers that spam accounted for as much as 50% of incoming mail. Current spam levels are much higher, according to
Bob Amen, O’Reilly’s system administrator, based on his experience. Bob sent mail today describing our statistics for the last 24 hours, saying that he wanted our users to know how much spam he was keeping out of our mailboxes.
There were 82,300 incoming email connections to our mail server.
Of those, we blocked 10,000 messages through a local blocking list that I maintain and for improperly formed SMTP commands. The latter are mostly due to viruses and trojaned home systems on DSL or cable that are being used as spam robots.
We blocked 13,000 attempts to deliver the MyDoom virus.
Our spam software (SpamAssassin) identified 49,000 spam messages and 11,000 clean messages (after alias expansion). That means we get more than 4 spam messages for each good message!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that O’Reilly users were not seeing spam. A good amount does get through. I’d estimate that I get 1 piece of spam for every 4 messages that get through to my mailbox. Less than 10% of the incoming email is any good, an unhealthy ratio of real meat to spam.
As much as spam filtering has improved, I’m still spending a portion of my day rooting through trash to find something good to read. The only consolation is it could be worse, if not for the efforts of admins like Bob.
Isn’t it too bad to see email trashed?