Heather Goudey Computer Associates
Detecting hoaxes as the spam they truly are
When a customer gets a virus warning via email they do not know that it is a hoax until they go looking for 'virus' information from an AV vendor. Customers see this as an anti-virus problem, but largely the AV vendors are focused on detecting real viruses and have tended to overlook this area of customer perception. This is done partly because the AV industry metrics are focused on the number of 'viruses' detected, and partly because the detection of hoaxes is significantly different to the detection of viruses.
With the continued increase in the number of spam emails received each day there has been a corresponding rise in the marketplace penetration of spam filters to 'protect' corporate and home users. These spam filters are very well suited to search email text looking for hoaxes and to issue suitable warnings to alleviate the customers' concern, and perhaps more importantly to educate the customer to the point that they decide not to forward the hoax onto anyone else.
There are a number of implications in adopting spam filter functionality to protect customers from hoaxes. This paper looks into these issues and suggests some solutions for the AV industry.