Halt! Who goes there? Friend or foe?

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by Smokey, Jun 8, 2003.

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  1. Smokey

    Smokey Registered Member

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    E-Mailers Turn Isolationist in Battle Against Spam

    Halt! Who goes there? Friend or foe? Internet users frustrated by a rising deluge of spam, or junk e-mail, are resorting to a new arsenal of software tools that block or quarantine mail of unknown origin.

    The anti-spam options range from address-book based systems that redirect mail from unknown senders, to image-blocking software, to collaborative reporting tools that allow users to report bulk e-mails with a single button click.

    In general, Internet users are resorting to the tactics of the medieval castle guard who barred all strangers at the gate. That may sound appealing to anyone who has done battle with cat-and-mouse tactics of spammers or wrestled with a daily barrage of unwanted and often unsavory e-mail messages.

    But some Internet watchers see the medium of e-mail -- as a place for informal, even intimate, conversation -- falling victim to the new anti-spam counteroffensive. The open communications system that once was electronic mail is breaking down as the mood of suspicion and helplessness grows, they say.

    "The 'Net is balkanizing," said Karl Auerbach, an elected director of ICANN, the Internet policy board, and a veteran Internet engineer. "There are communities of trust forming in which traffic ... is accepted only from known friends."

    DO I KNOW YOU?

    EarthLink Inc. last week became the first of the major U.S. Internet service providers to introduce a so-called challenge-response system as an option for its 5 million members.

    In simple terms, its new spamBlocker system (http://www.earthlink.net/spamblocker/) checks all incoming mail against the recipient's electronic address book. The user is then offered several ways to accept or reject unrecognized mail, speeding the effort of weeding out spam.

    Rather than attempting to block e-mail based on the content of messages, challenge-response systems control access to an individual's inbox by screening the senders of messages.

    "It adds some effort to maintain the address book or challenge list," said Matt Cobb, director of product development at EarthLink Inc., but it pays off in the long run because the system learns to recognize friends.

    He says this is the best way for the user to control unsolicited e-mail. "The only way to get 100 percent spam-protection is permission-based filtering," Cobb said, referring to the two-stage process of accepting approved e-mail and rejecting spam.

    Qurb (pronounced "curb") Inc. is another e-mail filtering systems to attract positive reviews recently. Co-founder Felix Lin sees spam-fighting as just a subset of the need for a more comprehensive approach to managing one's own personal information and communications. Qurb may appeal to heavy e-mail users who already organize their contacts electronically.

    Lin, previously co-founder and chief executive of AvantGo, the popular Web subscription system for handheld computer users, believes Qurb can act as a natural extension of electronic address books kept by millions of Palm and Outlook users. The software is available at http://www.qurb.com/ for a free 60-day trial and costs $24.95 to keep.

    WHAT DO OTHER USERS THINK?

    Cloudmark's SpamNet (http://www.cloudmark.com/) takes a collaborative approach, placing faith in the judgment of some 480,000 SpamNet users to decide if a message is spam or not.

    SpamNet works by warning the user when he or she is defying the judgment of other users. Users have the option to accept this e-mail and override the implicit groupthink of the system. The service costs $4.99 a month and is geared toward users of Microsoft's Outlook information management system.

    But challenge-response systems have provoked raging debate in technical circles. Critics worry that by heavily favoring known addresses, the danger grows of "false positives." In other words, unrecognized e-mail from friends, acquaintances or business prospects may be blocked or fall between the cracks.

    Consumer Internet service providers (ISPs) such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and EarthLink have engaged in a race this year to match each other feature-for-feature. All offer a simple spin on the collective spam-fighting efforts of Cloudmark.

    Yahoo asks its users to report "e-mail abuse" to Yahoo via a prominently displayed "This is spam" button within the user's e-mail inbox. MSN's own button is bluntly labeled "junk."

    AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said its centralized spam-filtering relies almost entirely on reports from millions of members. "This is not the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain that decides how to block spam. It is members making an average of 9 million individual pleas each day for help," Graham said.

    Dr. Paul Judge, chairman of an Internet industry task force on spam, told a recent technical conference on spam that the Internet's expectation of openness needs to be rethought.

    From a technical perspective, e-mail has been treated as "innocent until proven guilty." The default toward openness worked previously because mails were more likely to be desirable messages than spam. Now it's more likely spam.

    "Is it time to consider closed systems?" asks Judge, chief technology officer of e-mail security company CipherTrust Inc.

    Source: LiveWire
     
  2. Mr.Blaze

    Mr.Blaze The Newbie Welcome Wagon

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    :Dit me blazey i brought the alchole let me in
     
  3. Smokey

    Smokey Registered Member

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    Hi Blazey!

    What a nice surprise!

    I didn't expect you on my party, but come in man!

    How are you today?

    Guests with alcohol are always welcome, take a chair and let's have fun together with your 3 bottles of finest scottish whiskey!

    I'm expecting some more appreciated guests from this forum, but it's a surprise who's joining the party tonight!

    Let's hope that they are bringing some nice presents to us, just like you did with the whiskey, hey man, let's forget our sorrows and make fun!
     
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