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Corporate e-mail spam rules

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting


All companies have a responsibility to catch spam before it gets to their employees, yet managers walk a tightrope between losing important messages (false positives for the spam filter) and being inundated with offers enlarging your naughty bits.  There are many productivity benefits to corporate-wide spam filtering, where your do the filtering once, instead of  having your employees filter-out their spam each day:

  • Reduced network traffic
  • Legal responsibility (i.e. exposing employees to profanity)
  • Reduced malicious attachments (virus, spyware)
  • Reduce employee time manually filtering-out spam

Let's take a closer look at corporate spam filtering rules and see how they are implemented to supplement PC-side spam tools such as Norton.

Corporate Spam filtering rules

There are some generic email spam rules that will remove half of your spam e-mails.  These filters may include obvious spam characteristics:
  • No executable attachments (.exe, etc.)
     
  • No blank subject, to, or from lines
     
  • No non-English characters (no Kanji, Cyrillic, etc)
     
  • No non-matching FROM lines (the TO lines does not match the employee name)  This one has the false positive problem, as employees may create "pet names" for certain co-workers (e.g. Pookie)

Of course, you may find other general spam filtering rules, but each needs to be carefully tested to avoid false positives and the loss of important e-mail correspondence.  Next, lets examine corporate profanity and spam keyword filtering.

Corporate profanity filtering

Just pushing-in a nasty word filter may not work.  It may not be safe to eliminate all messages with profanity, especially if you have senior management with salty language. Also, some of the profanity filters can be too sensitive, where even a mildly profane word (e.g. asshat, pillock, douchebag) may cause false positives, losing important email correspondence (this is especially true if you are unfortunate enough to have douchebags or asshats on your staff). 

When I tried the a fill corporate profanity filter, I lost important e-mails from Sweetwater Inc. because the word sweeTWATer contains the word TWAT inside it! 

Be careful for false positive traps in global profanity filters!

Global Filtering SPAM Words

It's nice to have a global corporate e-mail filter for generic spam words, but it's important to have a filter that allows you to remove and add words to the global e-mail filter. 

You also have to be careful about filtering-out spam words that may be used in legitimate e-mail messages.  For example, you may ban "Viaraga", but later you may get Pfizer Corporation as a client, and you want to receive e-mail about Viagara.  The same is true if your have clients in the penis enlargement industry.

Easy "this is spam" rule processing

A good corporate e-mail filtering tool should have the ability for individual users to "mark" a message as spam, and then feed the spam into a rules database.  The rules processing engine would examine all of the spam message in the database and derive a rule-set that focused-in in on the particular combinations of keywords that positively identify the message as spam.

In sum, global corporate spam filters can be a huge challenge and you must be especially careful not to set your spam filters too high, and risk loosing an important e-mail from your clients.
 


 

 

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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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