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A Bad Option Gone Good

These methods were compiled into a test program and added to the mail sorter.  The mail sorter was now a forensic investigator whose purpose is to prove spammers are lying about their identity.  New statistics were gathered on the quality of the test and these results were used to further refine the process.  In the end, the results were so successful that it reopened an option that we had discarded earlier:  a challenge-response system.

We had initially decided that challenge-response systems, which would let unknown email senders add themselves to our allowed lists, were just too wasteful since most of the challenge emails they would send out would be to either someone who didn't really send the original email or to an address that didn't exist wasting bandwidth on networks that were not even responsible for hosting the spammer.

This problem was eliminated now that we had fully functioning sender authentication.  If we only challenged unknown senders from VALID networks, only REAL senders would receive them.  If they were real flesh-and-blood people, they could answer.  If they were spam robots, the burden of the extra traffic was on the hands of the hosting network providing a nice incentive to clamp down on the spammer.


A few tweaks and turns later, we had very quietly achieved something that no one else on Earth had: spam free inboxes with no lost email!

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