Email remains the most common vector of attack for hackers, and so spam will never go out of fashion.

What this means for companies and all email users for that matter is that anti-spam is still very much a thing. Not only is it necessary to have anti-spam but it is also necessary to make sure that combating tools keep pace with evolving hacker tactics.

This is according to Michael Morton, Solutions Architect at specialist managed IT security services’ company, Securicom. Citing from the Symantec 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, he says at least 55% of emails received in 2018 were categorized as spam. Not only is email a conduit for spam, but it is also used by cyber criminals for phishing and to disseminate malware.

“Hackers are using more sophisticated spamming tools and are continually fine tuning their methods. In the beginning spam was sent directly to users and the spammers made no effort at all to disguise the sender information. This could easily be blocked simply by blacklisting the sender or sending IP address.

“Today, spammers are using Proxy pools, modem pools and open relays to send spam and to mask the identity of the true sender. These new forms of spam cannot be stopped by just adding a static blacklisting rule. Anti-spam engines now rely on Artificial intelligence (AI), global detection sensors and networks to adjust to the way spam is being sent today. Outdated, old generation anti-spam tools are not equipped with these capabilities,” says Morton, stressing that not all anti-spam solutions are created equal.

“The filtering solution applied to your email system uses a set of protocols to determine which of your incoming messages are spam and which are not. This is typically a score-based mechanism. The more spam mails you ‘see’ every day, the better the solution becomes in identifying and stopping spam related mails.

“But remember that spam is just a one challenge within the email ecosystem. You will only be protecting yourself against spam with a standalone anti-spam tool. There is also phishing and malware to contend with. An integrated email security solution that makes use of multiple industry leading tools from a variety of vendors would be the best option.”

Morton concludes: “Spam has been around since the 1990s, making it an old threat, and you would expect that anti-spam solutions to be able to deal with it. However, although the form in which it is delivered remains the same, the threats within are more complex and are always evolving. Year on year this is becoming more rapid and sophisticated. You need a solution that adjusts with time, together with highly qualified support, to help identify and stop current and emerging threats.”