Analyzing the Social Structure and Dynamics of E-mail and Spam in Massive Backbone Internet Traffic
Report, 2010

E-mail is probably the most popular application on the Internet, with everyday busi- ness and personal communications dependent on it. Spam or unsolicited e-mail has been estimated to cost businesses significant amounts of money. However, our understanding of the network-level behavior of legitimate e-mail traffic and how it differs from spam traffic is limited. In this study, we have passively captured SMTP packets from a 10 Gbit/s Internet backbone link to construct a social network of e-mail users based on their exchanged e-mails. The focus of this paper is on the graph metrics indicating various structural properties of e-mail networks and how they evolve over time. This study also looks into the differences in the structural and temporal characteristics of spam and non- spam networks. Our analysis on the collected data allows us to show several differences between the behavior of spam and legitimate e-mail traffic, which can help us to under- stand the behavior of spammers and give us the knowledge to statistically model spam traffic on the network-level in order to complement current spam detection techniques.


Farnaz Moradi

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Networks and Systems (Chalmers)

Tomas Olovsson

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Networks and Systems (Chalmers)

Philippas Tsigas

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Networks and Systems (Chalmers)

Subject Categories

Computer Science

Technical report - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University: 2010-03

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