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Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.

Microsoft 182

Barence writes "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry — an argument deconstructed by PC Pro. 'Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail,' Microsoft's Dick Craddock wrote in a Windows Live blog post earlier this week."

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182 comments

Easy to be the best (5, Insightful)

shuz (706678) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052003)

When you are the source.

Re:Easy to be the best (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052247)

When you are the source.

Haven't logged into my Hotmail account in about 8 years... wonder what's in there.

Re:Easy to be the best (3, Insightful)

ski9826 (2541112) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052359)

Most likely nothing - isn't a hotmail account switched off (easily reactivated) if it is not logged into for 90 days?

Glad to hear they've figured it out (5, Interesting)

almitydave (2452422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052499)

Back in 2003 or so I gave up on my Hotmail account because if I didn't clear out the spam every 3 days, it would fill up my mailbox and delete all my older (read: personal and legitimate) email messages. This was when a free account only included 2MB of storage. After losing all my email a couple times over a period of several months, I gave up on it. I think I maxed out the number of custom filters you could have with attempts to delete junk automatically, which gave me maybe one more day.

I switched to Yahoo and eventually Gmail, and on the latter I receive one or two junk messages per day. False positives are rare, and spam NEVER gets to my inbox. Of course, the same day I signed up for Gmail, I started getting spam, before I ever even used the address anywhere.

Re:Glad to hear they've figured it out (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052615)

I gave up on Hotmail after losing all my mail. I guess you could say that there was no spam either.

Re:Glad to hear they've figured it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052881)

I gave up on Hotmail when Microsoft bought'em. and crashed for few days the same week (or so)...

Re:Glad to hear they've figured it out (5, Informative)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053497)

I remember that story.

Microsoft bought Hotmail. Then it came out that Hotmail was using *nix servers instead of Windows and much was made of Microsoft not eating their own dog food, so Microsoft made it a big priority to get them on Windows ASAP... and failed miserably, causing service outages etc. and making the original bad PR substantially worse.

People were making fun of them for years after that.

Re:Glad to hear they've figured it out (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053499)

I gave up on hotmail when M$ took my account away from me because I didn't log in frequently enough.

Of course that's because they were clogging my inbox with spam of their own suggesting that I buy more space.

Re:Easy to be the best (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052291)

True.

Where I work, a small 10K student college, the majority of spam that we see originates from either hotmail or yahoo servers (from received headers). Yahoo even signs the spam coming from their servers).

Majority of spam links point to "live" urls (another [apparently poorly managed] M$ asset.

Google seems to know how to control their infrastructure. Although a lot of reply address go to gmail accounts.

Re:Easy to be the best (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052817)

My girlfriend keeps receiving spam mail from the Yahoo account of one of her deceased friends. Apparently the account has been compromised. Such a bummer.

Re:Easy to be the best (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053225)

Well, if the friend is deceased, she might as well just block them, since I doubt they'll be sending any legitimate emails from beyond the grave. Probably be a better solution than being bummed out every time her friend emails her about male enhancement or hot christian singles.

Re:Easy to be the best (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052987)

ROFL!! I keep seeing rejects in my mailserver log from Hotmail addressed to spamtraps that were only exposed in Usenet messages back in '02-'05, and if I do change rules to accept Hotmail sourced messages, they always turn out to be Nigerian confidence scams. Microsoft can just step the heck away from the podium.

Re:Easy to be the best (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053691)

I'd say the more relevant question is "Is there enough of a difference to care?" because if you are stopping 99.8% and the other guys are stopping 99.7% and 99.6% frankly to the user at home there won't be any real measurable difference. It kinda reminds me of my "must win teh benches!" gamer customers, really are you gonna be able to tell the difference between 143FPS and 152FPS in MW3? of course not. I've used all three and frankly they have all become quite good at stopping spam and I honestly can't think of the last time i saw a spam mail in any of my inboxes, so who cares if MSFT stopped 1 more spam per 100,000 than the other guys?

Noooooo!!! (1)

superflit (1193931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052013)

NO!

Move.......NEXT!?!??!

Re:Noooooo!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052071)

This.

lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052023)

Considering my hotmail account is nothing but spam, and it is so bad I had to quit using it, I'm going to have to disagree.

Are you kidding me???? (5, Interesting)

ski9826 (2541112) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052053)

Hotmail's spam protection is awful! I get about 15-20 spam messages/day and about one every couple of months on my gmail account.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (2)

chrisj_0 (825246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052183)

2nd gmail... It even calls my legit pr0n email spam... which is actually quite annoying.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (3, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052825)

Add the sender as a contact, and it will stop spam-binning it for you permanently without your "not spam" flags affecting other user's filtering.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (1)

ararara_ (2511446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053075)

Every so often email threads from mailing lists (specifically the mplayer users list) end up in my spam box. I should check to see if it is just a single sender causing it and fix it...

Re:Are you kidding me???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052871)

2nd gmail... It even calls my legit pr0n email spam... which is actually quite annoying.

email about shrimp?

Re:Are you kidding me???? (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053291)

As much as your probably joking (I sure as shit hope so) I think I've gotten one or maybe two false positives in the spam folder in the last 7 years on my gmail account. On the opposite side, I've gotten about the same amount false negatives.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053129)

I'd have to agree. I only use my hotmail account for msn and only my msn contacts have the address. Still I get 1-2 spam mails a month. On gmail, only 2 spam mails got through the filter since 2005 and I've been using that address heavily.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (2)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053301)

you still dial into msn?

Re:Are you kidding me???? (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053377)

I meant Windows Live Messenger. D'oh! :-)

Re:Are you kidding me???? (1)

Xaduurv (1685700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053325)

Hotmail's spam filter the best in the business? AAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Well, now that I've gotten that out of my system, no, I don't agree with that at all. I get 4 spam emails per day on that, and I don't exactly give it out willy nilly. My gmail account so far is perfect.

Re:Are you kidding me???? (4, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053607)

To be fair, the blog post seems to indicate that they're extolling their progress on the reverse. They're saying their best-in-industry as far as delivering the least amount of spam to hotmail inboxes, not whether hotmail addresses are the source of spam elsewhere.

That said, I have an e-mail address at basically every major mail service (gmail, yahoo, aim/aol, mail.com, a hosted exchange account, and hotmail). The only spam I get in Hotmail actually lands in my spam box, and there really isn't much of it to speak of.

I know that this is gonna be a smidge off-topic and paint me as a Microsoft shill, but I'm really not...Hotmail's notoriety was deserved in the 1990's, but unfortunately Microsoft has attached the poisoned name to a good product (which is why I opt to use live.com instead). MS really did well with integrating Hotmail, Skydrive, and Office Web Apps. Get a Word document as an attachment? open it on the spot without downloading, edit, and reply. Save to Skydrive to access it from basically anything. All three work as well in Chrome and Firefox as they do in IE (Opera support is a bit stubborn, admittedly), and doesn't require silverlight. The UI looks a lot like Outlook, sharing files via a link is piss simple (and gives options to share via Facebook and gives different links for read only and r/w access), and the ads aren't terribly intrusive. Yes, I fully credit Gmail and Google Docs for pushing Microsoft to the point where they've made a suite of web apps that are worth using. However, if you haven't visited a Windows Live account in the past year to see how genuinely nice it is to use...it's worth an objective look.

@hotmail and @live the same? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052067)

I have an @live email address, and I've never received junk on that one. My gmail one gets a bunch, even though only a few people have my gmail address. ?!

no difference (2, Interesting)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052087)

I have accounts in both hotmail and gmail with about the same "exposure" on the internet and can't say i've seen any difference

Re:no difference (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052323)

This, not that I really use either service but I haven't seen much of a difference between the two.
It matter more where and how you use your e-mail than what spam filter you use. That and everyones definition of spam is different.

Re:no difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052329)

I use gmail and its spam filters seem to refuse to block political messages. I keep marking Santorum's bullshit as spam (and no, I didn't subscribe) and I keep on receiving it. I'm not even American FFS. Do you know if hotmail is any better?

Re:no difference (1)

alyandon (163926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052951)

My experience is pretty much identical to yours. My accounts with gmail and hotmail are both very old with the Hotmail account going back to 1998. The Hotmail account seems to get about 2x as much incoming spam sent to it and I very rarely see spam making it into my Inbox. With Gmail I can't recall the last time a spam email ended up in my Inbox.

However, Hotmail has a pretty significant false-positive rate in comparison to Gmail but I can't make an apples to apples comparison because the Hotmail account is essentially now a throw-away I use for signing up to websites vs my Gmail account which I'm a bit more leery of giving out.

Re:no difference (2)

bardyc (2503380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053113)

The difference is most likely on the "sending" spam end. What better metrics can be provided than "who blocks the most of our mail?".
It is interesting from the viewpoint of the spammer vs. regular guy. The spammer is going to tell you that delivering to yahoo is hard (I know, it sounds ridiculous) and hotmail seems to be very easy until you realize they are just throwing your email into nothing. If hotmail really thinks you are a spammer, they send you a "200 OK" response after you are done sending your message then they delete your message forever. Not to junk, not to inbox, you just don't make it in at all. This is a great way for them to manage spam because writing to /dev/null is something they don't mind doing for you. Gmail and yahoo tell you "No, you're a spammer, go away". Yahoo even tries to get tricky and sends temporary block messages regardless of who you are to see how many times you try to resend it.
Yes, I may have run a few too many email servers for too long.

Re:no difference (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053593)

I have accounts in both hotmail and gmail with about the same "exposure" on the internet and can't say i've seen any difference

I think I can help: just give me the two email addresses and tell me in which one you want more spam.

(duck)

My inbox is spam free (2)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052089)

with only one or two pieces showing up in the junk folder every couple weeks. I've been using Hotmail(Live) for a few years now.

Re:My inbox is spam free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052145)

Yes the spam folder is full of my email and my inbox contains the spam. The spam filter is good at detecting spam, however it just gets it wrong 100% of the time.

Re:My inbox is spam free (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053349)

Well, mine too, but that may be because I have my email filtered so only e-mails from people in my contact list should reach me.

Not too long ago however, spammers managed to send me e-mails from me, and all of them got through. I haven't seen those in a while.

Anyone who has actually... (5, Funny)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052125)

bought a penis pump, ordered synthetic Viagra or sent money to Nigeria are automatically exempt from this study.

Re:Anyone who has actually... (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053353)

Or bought email lists of out of date whois data, and use thisisfake.email@something.tld and then try and use that list via hotmail of top billionaire business contacts.

You thought logwatch was boring ?

Just delete all email going to hotmail.com (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052163)

No one reads it any how, so just assume its all spam. Presto, 100% effective spam filtering.

Re:Just delete all email going to hotmail.com (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053397)

If it's going to hotmail, doesn't that mean you are the spam source?

Re:Just delete all email going to hotmail.com (2)

tool462 (677306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053657)

Funny, yes, but this is roughly what I do. Hotmail has a setting to send all email to your junk folder. I have that enabled then whitelist any individual email addresses that I do actually care to see. Since I had such an issue with spam on this account, I now use it exclusively for places I expect to get spammed from. Web forums, and various other non-trustworthy sources. Helps keep my real accounts clean since there's no cross pollination.

Joking right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052171)

Funniest thing I have read all year!

Idle? (5, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052189)

You're kidding, right?

Hotmail's spam filter is the worst in the business. It frequently places confuses spam and ham and what is worse is that sometimes it seems to think I'm on the mailing list of said spam list and automatically displays the content.

What staggers me is the number of phishing attempts that get into the spam folder, they should even be getting that far.

The only thing Hotmail is useful for is signing up for things that are almost certainly going to send spam.

Re:Idle? (1)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052555)

Er, does anyone actually use hotmail anymore?

Re:Idle? (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052625)

Yes.
Spammers still use it.

Re:Idle? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053293)

I have a Hotmail account I use to send (legitimate) zipped executable attachments. It's set to forward to my gmail, though. I don't have a spam problem with either.

Re:Idle? (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053525)

JFK used hotmail.

Re:Idle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053591)

Just old people in Korea.

Re:Idle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053387)

Look at spam gourmet then. You make disposable addresses that only last a few emails.

Re:Idle? (2)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053529)

Even worse, they tend to blacklist blocks of IPs, so I've been having problems where users aren't get activation emails when they sign up for my forum. The messages don't even go to the junk folder, they just get bounced back.

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052191)

people still use hotmail?

Hotmail SPAM filter... wait, they have one? (5, Informative)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052195)

Let me be among the first to chime in... Their spam filter sucks big time.

For the past 6-8 months (or more), I've been getting spam for all sorts of services that originate from the same sender. They use the SAME template! It's just a series of images, with THE ONLY TEXT being "Can't see Images? Click here". I marked such sh!t as Junk countless times, only to come back the next day to seeing some of the same ones in my Junk filter, some in my Inbox.

It doesn't matter that the subject line is the same - advertising for Match.com or some other crap, even though I mark it as Junk, apparently Hotmail does not even pretend to do anything about it. Same subject line, same template with images only.

THIS IS BASIC SPAM FILTER 101, if there is no address, or Unsubscribe in the newsletter, or a poor text to image ratio, IT IS SPAM! What the hell is their spam team researching?

And it has the most worthless spam configuration settings: all off, the useless "ON" setting, or the idiotic "exclusive" from your contacts only.

Re:Hotmail SPAM filter... wait, they have one? (5, Funny)

lakeland (218447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052383)

Maybe you're in their spam filter's control group?

Need on my Mobile Phone (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052221)

Wish T-Mobile would pick up some sort of spam filtering .. I'm getting a lot of crap on my mobile phone and don't want to sit around blocking this number or that, but have them block known text spammers (anything with 'prize' in the email address) or phonus balonus lottery/baby name/ whatever promoters.

Re:Need on my Mobile Phone (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053337)

Funny, on my T-Mobile phone I just use google mail. Makes it much simpler.

what a joke (5, Informative)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052227)

As usual, Microsoft is full of shit. My hotmail account allows the MOST spam through to my inbox. Gmail's filters are nearly perfect--I think I've only seen one spam message make it through in the past few years, whereas in hotmail, I've had to create a rule that moves anything not specifically addressed to me into the junk folder. Every day, that folder gets filled with spam from the likes of obviously faked domains like SEBUJIHJTPHJ@a.encloserrewall.com, and HUZDSUBYYZMB@a.gamelikeinconside.com. I've contacted hotmail demanding to know why their spam filter sucks so hard that they can't even filter out something as obvious as that. Of course, there's no response because as we can see, they're spending money on spokespeople rather than developers.

Furthermore, it's not just that hotmail fails to filter spam, the problem is that they have such an antiquated and feature-poor interface for users to control how incoming email is sorted. Then the web interface itself is extremely slow. I'm hardly a fan of Google but anyone with half a brain can see that Gmail is superior in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY. It's not even close.

Hotmail is for email you don't give a shit about, and when you don't want to give out a real address. Honestly, I don't even know why I still have it. I'd be better off creating a garbage gmail account and use that instead.

Re:what a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052525)

"I'm hardly a fan of Google but anyone with half a brain can see that Gmail is superior in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY. It's not even close."

Yep. I have both a Gmail account (main email) and a throw-away Hotmail account that I use for website registrations and such. Gmail catches almost everything. I get maybe, MAYBE, 1 or 2 pieces of spam in a 3 month period (not exaggerating at all on that estimate...maybe I just guard my info better than most.) That Hotmail account? It's always, ALWAYS, choked full of garbage...tons of it! If Hotmail even has a spam filter, it's very broken, easily-circumvented, or was just never meant to work in the first place. Hotmail claiming to have the best spam filter isn't a joke. It's an insulting lie that only the drunkest of kool-aid drinkers could believe.

Re:what a joke (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052703)

So you're saying that the account you hand out wrecklessly gets more spam than the one you keep safe and only hand out to very trusted parties?

Re:what a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052999)

I don't hand out my account to any parties, and I still manage to get an inbox full of spam on Hotmail, with 0 spam on Gmail. Is just ridiculous.

I've pretty much given up on checking Hotmail more than about once a month.

Also, their spam filtering fails even when it is trying. Like, it rejects connections instantly from my home server on a dynamic range (server IP hasn't changed in 4 years though), even with a valid MX record for the domain matching that IP, and an SPF record whitelisting it.

GMail does not, yet still manages to actually filter spam correctly.

Even spamassassin can do more intelligent weighting than hotmail.

Re:what a joke (1)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053891)

I knew some idiot such as yourself would read what I wrote and point that out. I was waiting for such an argument to be made. Congratulations, you just demonstrated that you're a tool...who also can't spell.

So here's the rebuttal that you evidently need to have spelled out for you. I don't hand out ANY emails "wrecklessly" [sic]. I don't even hand them out recklessly. I use my hotmail address to sign up for various web services, like slashdot, meetup, and twitter; I also use it as my contact address for online shopping. These are perfectly legitimate and reasonable uses, and wherever applicable, I always opt out of having my hotmail address shared, visible, or otherwise made public. If I get spam as a result of signing up or doing business through these sites, then that's not my fault.

My Gmail, on the other hand, is for PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE and IMPORTANT things, and I have incoming messages pushed to my phone.

That's the entire context of the distinction I make between my accounts. You, dumbass that you are, seem to want to exaggeratedly characterize it as me recklessly sharing my hotmail address with every spammer on the planet, when that is not the case. Furthermore, you don't seem to realize that sharing my gmail address with other individuals could perhaps put them at even greater risk of getting spammed, because if you sign up for a service or buy goods, you're sending your contact info to a company, which is generally better at securing the systems that store that data. On the other hand, I have no idea if my friend(s) or personal contacts are using a compromised machine that has been infected with malware that's harvesting their contacts.

The bottom line is that no matter how you share your account, spam is going to be sent to it. Someone is going to find your address and it's going to get hit eventually. Once that happens, the success of the spam filter has nothing to do with who has your address. If I bother to look in my gmail's spam folder--and I have done this--I would find hundreds of tagged messages that were caught by the filter. But I almost NEVER see any spam get through that filter, out of all of that junk. On the other hand, hotmail routinely lets spam into my inbox on a daily basis. I had to create multiple rules to filter it out manually, because their so-called "BEST IN THE INDUSTRY" filter is too stupid to do it.

Personal Hotmail test (1)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052245)

I've been running a test of the Hotmail system for about the last ten years. Not of their Spam detection, when it started even Spam Assassin was a baby, but of an assertion I saw on an online forum that MS sold email addresses to spammers.
I am happy to say that I have never gotten any junk mail at all in that inbox.
I have used the account to send test messages to a malfunctioning mail server and to register MS products but that's really all. The only mail I get there now is from MS itself, which could be considered Spam but that would be stretching things a bit.

Hotmail is my SPAM folder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052261)

People and 'important' accounts get my gmail address. Most forms get my hotmail address.

They all suck (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052263)

I'm constantly having to babysit the GMail Spam filter; I get about two false positives a week. But it has done a fine job on my inbox; I've never gotten a Phishing attempt in it, and the only e-mails where I have to click "Report Spam" are usually just annoying websites I got a login on that decided I absolutely needed their useless newsletter.

Re:They all suck (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052863)

I haven't checked in ages, but I just did. No false positives in my gmail acct, spam that makes it through is rare.

They are probably highly targeted as well (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052289)

Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail are probably the biggest targets for spammers, especially those using dictionary attacks. If you are going to send spam you certainly will be including those providers in your target list.

Unfortunately for these providers they cannot implement certain restrictions that smaller email providers or businesses might set up. For example, we run our own email server and reject outright email connections from a number of countries. We have the luxury of not needing to exchange email with someone in Russia or China (for example) which allows us to filter out huge blocks of IP ranges (using the country specific RBL's).

So Hotmail users may see spam in high quantity, but it's likely a very small percentage of that actually was targeted to the user. I did not RTFA, perhaps I should do so now, but it makes sense to me that Hotmail may actually have quite a good anti-spam scorecard.

Re:They are probably highly targeted as well (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053265)

Yes, it would be helpful to RTFA. FTFA:

“Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail.”

But then it turns out, as usual, that

The research was commissioned and paid for by Microsoft. Microsoft chose the webmail services to be tested, Microsoft had right of veto over publication of the results.

The whole thing is pretty funny, really. Absolutely pathetic. When I read things like this, I always wonder if they actually fool themselves too. The evidence is everywhere that Gmail has better spam protection. I use Gmail all the time, and my spam filter just fills up. Misses something every few months; always a surprise. And I've never come across a false positive.
However, logging into Hotmail just now, it had 2 messages in the spam folder, but all the inbox had were 6 spam messages.

Re:They are probably highly targeted as well (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053423)

The evidence is everywhere that Gmail has better spam protection. I use Gmail all the time, and my spam filter just fills up. Misses something every few months; always a surprise. And I've never come across a false positive.
However, logging into Hotmail just now, it had 2 messages in the spam folder, but all the inbox had were 6 spam messages.

I don't use Hotmail, but I do have a Gmail account that I use as a backup to my primary email. I get three or four emails a week in my Gmail nbox, all spam. Of course your experience and my experience mean nothing in terms of any real analysis.

Anecdotal evidence: (4, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052293)

I have posted my Gmail address publicly without reservation for 7.5 years (see above). I get approximately 1 spam email to my inbox per week, out of a volume of several hundred per day to my spam folder.

I have relatives who use hotmail, who take paranoid care that their email is not posted on the internet in public, even in obfuscated form. They have changed addresses multiple times for this reason, but stuck with hotmail.

Good starting point, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052305)

I have had a Hotmail account since the middle of high school. About 8 years ago, the spam got to the point that I ended up just switching it to dump everything in the junk folder. About once a week I glance through the junk folder and see if anything is in there that shouldn't be, and add that to safe sender list or safe domain. I think for the average home user, the only way to get a decent filter on it is slowly over time, make your own... I suspect that Microsoft's filter makes my junk mail folder human readable enough that I can still glance through it, and for that I appreciate their efforts. But if you stop there, you deserve what you get :-P

Bad metrics for "best" (5, Interesting)

Jophiel04 (1341463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052313)

I work at a university and Hotmail has on a number of occasions blocked all mail from our domain as an overreaction to some compromised accounts sending mail to hotmail users. These blocks have lasted for days while we have to ask them to revert this. They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain or even incorporate a more expedient process for getting these blocks resolved. We have never had any similar problems with Google, Yahoo, etc..

Their metrics for "best" are flawed if they block tens of thousands of good accounts and emails on account of a few compromised accounts, which every institution with over 20,000 users will have. I'm sure their users appreciate not getting normal mail from some domains for days instead of a slightly larger spam folder.

Re:Bad metrics for "best" (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052801)

They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain or even incorporate a more expedient process for getting these blocks resolved.

I don't think that Hotmail has a whitelist. They'll block emails from gmail, yahoo and aol. It's just that with the big providers they work with them on resolving the issues quickly. So it would be difficult for them to add you to a non existent list.

As for a more expendient process, that does sound like a fault of theirs.

Mine is better than best! (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052911)

By these metrics my filter is even better:
if(true) { delete email }

Re:Bad metrics for "best" (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052923)

I work at a university and Hotmail has on a number of occasions blocked all mail from our domain as an overreaction to some compromised accounts sending mail to hotmail users.

It may be a bit of an overreaction if two or three accounts got compromised, but...

They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain

Why would they? You just said your domain had compromised accounts. Your domain has been used to send spam.
Why would they guarentee spam send through compromised accounts on your domain does not get marked as spam?

Does SPAM still exist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052407)

I'm using GMail, I've got frakkin' publicly advertized email adresses and I get very close to zero spam.

Once in a while I see some sh!t in my 'spam' mailbox and it is, indeed, spam. But even that is very rare.

I'd say the number of actual real spam making it through my GMail inbox during one year is a number made of only one digit (in base 10).

Who's still getting spam and who's still spending spam?

GMail and Hotmail, seen how they filter greatly spam, will probably soon be not profitable enough for the spammers.

I take it that at zero spam per year in my inbox spammers can't possibly be making money on GMail / Hotmail...

And that day is coming. And it's coming fast.

I honestly don't really remember how a mailbox full of spam looks like. I used to have one, years ago. But I'm on GMail since the GMail beta and honestly the amount of spam keeps going down.

In other news.... (1)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052507)

Microsoft Windows is the most loved OS in the world, based on the fact that you can't buy a PC from a brick-and-mortar without it being preinstalled.

gave up hotmail (1)

K-tWizel (1724182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052599)

I gave up on hotmail BECAUSE the filter was so poor... that and I couldn't schwack my account

false positives (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052605)

I run a small business, shipping many packages daily.

Nearly all the customers who don't get the confirmation email with the tracking number are using Hotmail. The message is sent from a proper server with valid SPF and Domain key signature. It contains no links or special content, just text with the tracking number. All the other mail services are very good about recognizing it as a legitimate email.

But not Hotmail. If anyone from Microsoft is reading this, your spam filters suck.

Re:false positives (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053477)

Thats one of the keys of their "good" spam filtering, they are very strict on which servers could connect to them to send email, and how them should behave. Yes, they detect a lot of spam, but also a lot of mail just don't get there.

I setup a basic linux server anywhere, even with an invalid domain, send a test email and it reaches usually my gmail inbox, if not it goes to the spam folder. But gets there, don't get rejected at the incoming mail server level usually leaving no trace if it ever existed for the destination, and little or no clue to the person that sent it. And that is even worse than marking something real as spam,

Laughable (1)

DeadTOm (671865) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052641)

My last little experiment with hotmail was about 7 years ago. Perhaps things have improved since then but I opened an account, then didn't log into it again for a month. I never sent mail from it, never used it to sign up for anything and never gave it to anyone. When I logged in a month later it was full of spam. That pretty much killed hotmail for me.

The best at blocking legitimate email (1)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052727)

Like everyone else has posted, if you block everything, you're not going to get spam. Just as bad as yahoo in terms of blocking legitimate email, and just like yahoo, somehow spam actually makes it through MORE than legit email. Not sure why gmail can seem to get the whole spam/ham thing correct relatively quickly even with no recipients, and you don't have to jump through nearly as many crazy hoops as a mail provider to get your emails through

I agree with the report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052791)

I know almost everyone here likes to bash Microsoft, but I've had a Hotmail account for over a decade, I post my e-mail address everywhere, I use my Hotmail account on all those web forms which require an e-mail address, etc. Of the four e-mails accounts I actively maintain Hotmail gets the next-to-least amount of spam. The account with the least spam has been active for less than a year and is only used for business. I've only had a few false positives over the years, so I'd say Microsoft is doing a pretty good job.

Of course it's the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052889)

They're the only ones to offer an exclusive white list for your inbox. Everything else sucks.

ms technology claims..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39052919)

...always put a smile on my face. Thanks for the laugh.

Hotmail? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39052993)

Is that still a thing?

Gmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053005)

I have personally found that Gmails spam filter is substantially more accurate and effective.

Talked to somebody who worked there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053059)

I actually used to work at MS and met somebody who worked on the Hotmail team. I was telling him that personally I've noticed that my Hotmail account, which i haven't actively used (well maybe 2 or 3 emails every 3 months) for years has more spam than my yahoo or gmail accounts. I told him that numerous times I've flagged emails as phishing and spam but continue to receive emails.

He actually couldn't believe it and honestly felt that Hotmail had top of the notch security. He told me to forward any examples to him so he could modify the algorithms to detect for patterns. Well my point is I'm not sure if Hotmail actually knows that they are having spam problems. It seems to me that Hotmail in general believes that they don't even have any SPAM problem.

I just logged into check my Hotmail account and counted 14 spam emails with either chinese or latin/spanish text. As always i mark them as phishing scams....

Hotmail's Hacking Filter: (1)

mrquagmire (2326560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053067)

The Worst In the Business?

Microsoft is still buying crap research. (4, Interesting)

wkcole (644783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053083)

Calling this "independent" is hogwash. It's a scam MS has been pulling for well over a decade, paying for "independent" competitive studies whose design and publication they control, and then trumpeting the results of the ones that say things they like.

In this case, the methodology was designed in a way that only exposed the test addresses to a narrow subclass of spam and which helped rationalize the fact that the study is completely blind to false positives. It cannot be accidental that the most widespread criticism of Hotmail and Microsoft's other hosted mail services by outsiders who work with mail servers and spam control is not that they deliver or emit spam, but that they have massive chronic false positive problems, not just with mis-filing into "Spam" or rejecting in SMTP for no good reason, but with mail being accepted for delivery and vanishing without a trace, in large volumes. It's a mess and I am 100% certain that MS knows about internally, at least at senior mail geek levels. It is a spectacular display of chutzpah for MS to be applauding themselves for a study in which they would have been beaten by a email system with no Internet connectivity.

And as someone who has been dealing with spam filtering and prevention since before anyone at MS knew that "spam" wasn't just a Hormel product, I should add that a methodologically sound study of the filtering systems of the big freemailers is probably not possible in the real world. Different people get significantly different types of spam and non-spam based on the history of their addresses and how they use them, and you really can't say anything meaningful about an 'average' mail stream because no real address has one. The big freemail providers have a very hard job because of the scale and diversity of their user base and pathological business models, but that can't justify promotion of a study which ultimately is worthless.

What I simply don't understand... (1)

VikingOfNorth (2570199) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053091)

...is why on Earth does Microsoft advertise studies about its own products and always emphatize the fact that "this is an independent source"? It's like the most obvious possible way to tell everyone they had their fingers on the research. If there are no independent studies that show your product is the best, then I guess maybe you should, like, IMPROVE those products? Or make completely new (and BETTER) ones? Oh, and when it comes to spam filters, I've had an account on gmail for over 3 years and only received my first spam message about two weeks ago. That about sums it up. (Although I've only had a hotmail account for a very short period of time, so I'm giving MS a slight benefit of doubt)

I beg to differ. (2)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053137)

Not only have I never received spam originating from a Gmail address, I might have seen spam make it to my inbox once in the past year. This is an address I've used for six years, and splattered all over the Interwebs. I also had three different Hotmail addresses, which I canceled to avoid spam.

Equally allegorical and equally convincing to me, I went through an episode with my mother-in-law where spam began to be sent from her email address to everyone, and I mean everyone, in her address book, multiple times per day. Now, she doesn't typically engage in risky Internet behavior, being the kind of person who is skeptical of ATMs because she's afraid they'll withdraw the money without actually giving it to her. Suffice to say it caused a bit of a problem. She's sticking with Hotmail because, as she says, "that's the address everyone has for her", against all advice to the contrary.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053515)

Kinda reminds me of when I started working at the contracting company I do right now. During my paperwork process, they asked for an email account for "verification purposes" and to get things to me in the future if necessary. I figure, whatever, so I gave them my primary email account which happens to be gmail. They looked at me like I gave them some abcd@pr0n.com or something and said they couldn't accept that because too many spammers use that. I had to laugh, just told them if they can't accept that then they can postal mail whatever to me because it's what I use.
Would you believe they actually had 2 people around me at the time (small room) and both were saying I need to open a hotmail account so "we know it's legitimate". I was ready to walk out of the room... basically stood up for myself and told them if they want to email me do so, otherwise postal mail but no internet mail is legitimate since I could spoof their address going to anyone on the net and make them look like the sender. It shut up real quick... and I was going in for a Unix position...
whiskey. tango. foxtrot. over.

This is a pretty outrageous lie even for Microsoft (3, Interesting)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053235)

I have, shall we say, more than a little experience in the spam area. And having studied it in considerable detail over a very long period of time, I can say -- rather definitively -- that Hotmail does, and has done for many years, an absolutely horrible job of controlling outbound spam. (Which is of course the most important criteria by which to measure them. Inbound spam only matters to those with accounts there. Outbound spam matters to the entire Internet.) The only reason I would award them an "F" grade for their performance is that there is no lower grade available.

My handle is somewhat a reflection of my own nature, which can be condescending and indeed, arrogant. But even I wouldn't attempt something of this magnitude: Microsoft isn't merely exaggerating, they're absolutely, completely, totally lying.

Irrelevant (2, Interesting)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053243)

It's irrelevant to boast the best spam filters when you hard code spam into people's outgoing mail below their signature.

Implicit assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053565)

This statement is open to interpretation:

no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail

Let's add in a few implicit phrases:

no mail service [at all] offers better protection than [the service provided by] Hotmail

Actually, it doesn't (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053585)

The OP states: "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry"

Actually, Microsoft doesn't claim that (though it badly wants you to *infer* that).There's a small but subtle difference. What Microsoft claims is that "no one else has better spam protection than us". This is actually a fairly common little trick.

What's the difference? Simple enough. For the claim "Company A has the best X" to be true, Company A's X must be the best. For the claim "No other company's X is better than Company A's" to be true, either Company A's X must be the best - *or it must be equal to any number of other company's Xs*. An equal showing is okay for the second statement; it's not for the first.

This kind of claim is particularly common in cleaning products - you often hear 'no-one else's cleans cleaner than ours!' or some variation on it. It's a statement that's clearly encouraging you to infer that the advertiser's product is actually *better* than the competition's, but it's not actually saying that, and that may well not be the case. I suspect the truth in fields like domestic cleaning is that every product is pretty much equally good, and some smart advertiser hit on this line as a good way to try and promote your brand-name cleaner so it sounds like it's better than the budget alternative, when it isn't.

As the linked article makes clear, this is precisely the dodge Microsoft is using here: the survey found Hotmail and Gmail were in a statistical tie. It did not find that Hotmail was better than Gmail.

Abuse report handling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053649)

I can't speak to the quality of Hotmail's spam filter, but I can say that they are top notch at handling email abuse reports. They are fast and accurate. Second place would have to be Yahoo. They are slightly slower than Hotmail, and they often need you to reply and point things out that their investigations missed. Right in the middle would be AOL. They are not really a major source of abuse, so I can't say I've interacted with them very often. The two worst ever are Google and GMX. GMX is a scam 1&1 brand, which should tell you all you need to know about those losers. In last place is strangely enough Google. It is not really clear why they are so bad at dealing with email abuse (if they deal with it at all). Maybe they are just too big to be able to handle the volume of abuse reports that come in, and scammers know this gravitating to them, and the problem snowballs. It seems that the bad actors out there know the strengths and weaknesses of the major email players. If you want to send spam, use Yahoo or Hotmail. If you want to maintain a bulletproof drop email box or recieve incoming email for your pet scam, make sure you use Google/Gmail. Your operation will never be touched.

Who cares?? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053715)

What difference does it make when SSL is off by default and 3rd parties can hijack your email, then change the password to sites with credit info, unfortunately I know this from experience. Better turn on SSL, just saying...

Since we are going anecdotal... (1)

will.perdikakis (1074743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39053723)

...I get little to no spam on my GMail account. I get nothing but spam on my Hotmail account (and I barely use it for anything except GFWL). By my independent research, I get 100% spam on my Hotmail. Gmail is probably a better than that.
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