Revolutionary Spam Firewall

August 23, 2004

The email spam nightmare could be halted in cyberspace by a groundbreaking firewall developed at The University of Queensland.

The new technology is the only true spam firewall in existence, according to co-developer Matthew Sullivan.

"Existing anti-spam software filters out spam whereas ours puts up a firewall, stopping all email traffic and only allowing real mail through," said Mr Sullivan.

“In addition, our technology is accurate and fast. We recently completed a successful trial of a key layer of the spam firewall and it processed the emails at 90 messages per second, misclassifying only one out of 25,000 emails.”

“It turned out that the software was even better than us, picking up spam we’d incorrectly classified as legitimate emails.”

A Specialist Systems Programmer at The University of Queensland, Mr Sullivan worked on the spam firewall concept largely in his spare time, only coming together this year to work on the project with Guy Di Mattina, a recent UQ Engineering honours graduate, and Dr Kevin Gates, a UQ mathematics lecturer.

Pivotal to the trio’s spam firewall is the unique method of using a Support Vector Machine (SVM) to categorise emails. The only anti-spam software that analyses emails as a whole picture, rather than based solely on components such as key words or phrases, said Mr Sullivan.

“Using a SVM, we can train our spam firewall to accurately recognise legitimate emails to the extent that it can tell the difference between a pharmaceutical bulletin on Viagra and someone trying to sell Viagra,” he said.

UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest, has formed a start-up company based on the technology and is seeking investment to take the spam firewall to market.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson said the global cost of spam was estimated by the Radicati Group in 2003 to be $20.5 billion or $49 per user mailbox.

“With spam escalating and companies losing valuable employee time to deleting spam, UniQuest hopes to get this revolutionary spam firewall technology on the market quickly but it just depends on the level of funding we receive,” said Mr Henderson.

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: Blacklist warnings spread on websites in North Korea

Related Stories

Blacklist warnings spread on websites in North Korea

July 2, 2015

North Korea, already one of the least-wired places in the world, appears to be cracking down on the use of the Internet by even the small number of foreigners who can access it with relative freedom by blacklisting and blocking ...

Explainer: What is hacking?

April 5, 2013

Last week, we woke to news that the largest cyber attack ever was underway in Europe, with reports of global internet speeds falling as a result of an assault on the anti-spamming company Spamhaus.

Cyber criminals cloak their tracks

February 13, 2008

The 2007 X-Force Security report from IBM finds a disturbing rise in the sophistication of attacks by criminals on Web browsers worldwide. According to IBM, by attacking the browsers of computer users, cyber criminals are ...

Wal-Mart Offers $498 Linux Laptop

December 21, 2004 has released the $498 Balance laptop, which runs the Linux-based operating system Linspire. The laptop comes fully equipped with the operating system, Internet suite, and Microsoft-file compatible office suite, ...

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.