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Enhancing Scalability in Anomaly-based Email Spam Filtering



CEAS (), 2011 (), p. 13-22 , -.
, 2011


Spam has become an important problem for computer secu-rity because it is a channel for the spreading of threats such as computer viruses, worms and phishing. Currently, more than 85% of received emails are spam. Historical approaches to combat these messages, including simple techniques such as sender blacklisting or the use of email signatures, are no longer completely reliable. Many solutions utilise machine-learning approaches trained using statistical representations of the terms that usually appear in the emails. However, these methods require a time-consuming training step with labelled data. Dealing with the situation where the avail-ability of labelled training instances is limited slows down the progress of filtering systems and offers advantages to spammers. In a previous work, we presented the first spam filtering method based on anomaly detection that reduces the necessity of labelling spam messages and only employs the representation of legitimate emails. We showed that this method achieved high accuracy rates detecting spam while maintaining a low false positive rate and reducing the effort produced by labelling spam. In this paper, we en-hance that system applying a data reduction algorithm to the labelled dataset, finding similarities among legitimate emails and grouping them to form consistent clusters that reduce the amount of needed comparisons. We show that this improvement reduces drastically the processing time, while maintaining detection and false positive rates stable.

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