Barracuda, The Spam Eater

Each day, Penn Manor receives digital truckloads of spam email. How much you ask? In one 24-hour period this past weekend the district received 45980 incoming email messages. Of those, only 419 emails (about 1%) were legitimate.

The district’s high knockdown rate for spam is courtesy of a spam firewall network device from Barracuda Networks. Our Barracuda system stands between the main Penn Manor mail server and mail servers around the world. From this vantage point, the Barracuda scans all messages sent to district email accounts. Various checks and tests are run against the messages to determine if the email is legitimate or the work of a known spammer. Besides looking for certain obvious keywords, the Barracuda employs a number of advanced software tricks to sort good emails from bad. These tricks include checks against lists of know spam servers, pattern matching on body text and verification checks against the sender’s network address.

Even with all of this sophisticated spam eating technology, junk messages still slip past the filters from time-to-time. When deciding on the legitimacy of an email message, please keep in mind that promises to make you shorter, taller, bigger, smaller, richer or generally better looking via a pill or “special” financial transaction are probably a hoax.

Finally, McAfee has published a nice list of tips on avoiding spam. Check out the spam fighting guide here.