Yahoo! Mail Combatting Spam in 2008
For this week’s post, I’m enlisting a guest host. I’ve asked Mark, who leads our anti-spam team, to share some news about what he and his team are up to, to help combat the spammers of the world. So without further ado, here’s our resident “Spam Czar”…
Andrew – Yahoo! Mail Team
We know you hate receiving spam in your mailbox, and we’re working hard to help. While there may always be bad guys trying to get their messages through to you, at Yahoo! we’re tightening up on our spam controls in ’08, and in fact we’ve already begun rolling out a significant new defense system (and it’s only the start of February).
One reprehensible tactic spammers use is hijacking thousands of innocent home computers and forcing them to send out spam messages in the background, often without the owners even knowing! Collectively, these “zombie” computers spew out millions of spam messages a day, and that’s something that has to stop.
Starting today, we will be taking the bold move of rejecting mail from these zombie computers, using information from a number of third-party companies and ISPs to help in the identification. When these unauthorized computers attempt a connection to our back-end mail servers, they’ll be politely informed that their unsolicited mail is not welcome at Yahoo!. (This change is on the back-end only; users connecting through the Classic or All-New Yahoo! Mail web interfaces will not be blocked by this change.)
For example, consumers with a dynamic IP address will no longer be able to send mail directly to Yahoo! servers (machines with geeky, technical names like “a.mx.mail.yahoo.com”), and must instead use their ISP’s designated mail gateway. Again, users interacting through the web interface or the Yahoo! Mail POP/SMTP/IMAP services will *not* be affected by this change; aside from the spammers, this change will only impact people running a secret, unauthorized mail server in their basement.
It’s just one of the many steps we’re planning in the upcoming weeks and months to continue to improve your Yahoo! Mail experience, and we’ll be checking in here periodically on the YMail Blog to keep you up-to-date with further developments.
One reminder: If you do receive a spam message in your inbox — or an important message ends up in your spam folder — please help us out by clicking the “This is Spam” or “This is Not Spam” button on it. Clicking these buttons immediately sends a series of notifications to our SpamGuard systems and personnel so that we can correct the problem, and is the best indicator of how well we’re doing in our mission to ensure you receive all of the mail you want and none that you don’t.
Wishing you a Happy New Year from Yahoo! and SpamGuard,
P.S. Note for geeks and system administrators: In the rare case that you do feel we’ve made an incorrect classification of your mail, please pay close attention to any SMTP reply code our servers send back to you, as these will contain essential troubleshooting information and instructions on how to report a problem. Information for legitimate bulk mailers can always be found at http://postmaster.yahoo.com.