CNet has a story about the security measures Google employs to protect their email systems and fight the never-ending war on spam
. Their Postini team, acquired two years ago
, has a variety of monitoring tools and automated response systems to find and block undesirable messages. Quoting:
"The system scores each message on numerous combinations of criteria, assigning a weight to each and then comparing the score to those in a database of several hundred thousand message types that have been flagged as good or bad from Postini honey pots and customer spam reports. ... To block fresh spam attacks not covered by existing heuristic technologies and viruses not covered by existing signature databases Postini relies on proprietary Zero-Hour technology to identify new outbreaks that show up in the traffic patterns and quarantine them for later rescanning. Customers can also create and build out their own white lists of message senders they trust and blacklist others they don't trust. It takes an average of 150 milliseconds for a message to be scanned by the antivirus engines that Postini licenses from McAfee and Authentium.