Praise for the unsung heroes of email

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 4, 2015

Many decent performances in VB's latest comparative spam filter test.

A decade ago, there were optimists who thought that the spam problem would soon be eradicated. At the same time, pessimists thought that spam would quickly become such a big problem that we'd all stop using email.

The bad news is that the optimists were wrong: the vast majority of email traffic sent these days is spam. The good news is that the pessimists were wrong too: spam is so well mitigated that billions of people still use email every day.

Spam filters — or email security solutions, as they are often called these days — aren't solely responsible for this mitigation, but they play a very important part, making them the unsung heroes of the email infrastructure. When they do their job well, spam filters keep inboxes tidy and prevent users from being tempted to open dodgy links or malicious attachments.

As the spam landscape evolves, so do spam filters. Or so one would hope. Since the spring of 2009, Virus Bulletin has been publishing bi-monthly reports on the performance of spam filters.

The most recent of these reports was published earlier this week. For most participating products there was good news: they bounced back from a relatively weak performance in the November 2014 test.

Thirteen products achieved the widely respected VBSpam award for their performance, and six of them — ESET, GFI, Kaspersky, Libra Esva, OnlyMyEmail and ZEROSPAM — even achieved a VBSpam+ award for blocking more than 99.5% of spam, while blocking no legitimate emails and very few newsletters.

For some products, however, the results were disappointing and their developers will be working hard to show that their poor performance was a one-off incident.

  The VBSpam quadrant sets the spam catch rate against the rate at which legitimate emails are being blocked. Click here for a larger version of the graph.

The full VBSpam report can be downloaded here in HTML format or here as a PDF. For an easier to digest version of the results, a summary of the report can be downloaded here in HTML format or here as a PDF.

Are you providing an email security solution whose performance you'd like to be measured by Virus Bulletin? Do not hesitate to email VB Editor Martijn Grooten at martijn.grooten@virusbtn.com or check out the details of our consulting services.

Posted on 04 February 2015 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: From Hacking Team to hacked team to…?

Today we publish the VB2018 paper and video by ESET researcher Filip Kafka, who looked at the new malware by Hacking Team, after the company had recovered from the 2015 breach.

The spam that is hardest to block is often the most damaging

We see a lot of spam in the VBSpam test lab, and we also see how well such emails are being blocked by email security products. Worryingly, it is often the emails with a malicious attachment or a phishing link that are most likely to be missed.

Throwback Thursday: We're all doomed

Mydoom turns 15 this month, and is still being seen in email attachments. This Throwback Thursday we look back to March 2004, when Gabor Szappanos tracked the rise of W32/Mydoom.

VB2019 call for papers - now open!

Have you analysed a new online threat? Do you know a new way to defend against such threats? Are you tasked with securing systems and fending off attacks? The call for papers for VB2019 is now open and we want to hear from you!

VB2018 paper: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Google researcher Maddie Stone in which she looks at one of the most interesting anti-analysis native libraries in the Android ecosystem. We also release the recording of Maddie's presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.