Spam Filter Update
- Update on Spam Issue
- Current Performance
- Communication coming from CCCTC and Chancellor's Office
- Monthly College Spam Filter Discussion
- Support for Colleges Finding False Negatives
Despite the recent uptick in fraud, the most recent numbers from the machine learning data science team is that the CCCApply spam filter service is accurately identifying and filtering 96% of all fraud across all colleges.
From colleges that are diligently managing (tagging) the applications suspended by the model, we find the filter is performing at 99% accuracy.
(Taken from the CCCApply White Paper (see below))
In order to combat fraudulent applications, it is important to understand the motivation of the bad actors who submit them. Investigation has shown that most of these applicants are seeking to obtain an academic email address, otherwise known as a “.edu” email account, which may be used for financial gain or myriad other benefits, including:
- Sell to other bad actors
- Obtain free software licenses
- Get confirmations of residency
- Use residency to get California IDs
- Potential for serious security attacks
It is widely discussed on hacking forums that most California community colleges generate a .edu email address for a student minutes to hours within receipt of a completed application. Fraudulent applicants receive a fully functioning .edu email account without ever having to register for classes or even attend orientation.
CCCApply Fraudulent Applications White Paper | January 2020
In an effort to reduce the number of incoming fraudulent applications through CCCApply, the CCC Information Security Center has published a two-part white paper exploring the leading causes behind the ongoing fraud craze, and a step-by-step tutorial describing three methods of restricting use of .edu accounts is available to California community colleges.
- WHITE PAPER: Reducing Fraudulent CCCApply Applications A Guide for California Community Colleges | January 2020
- TUTORIAL: Restricting .edu Email Access A Guide for California Community Colleges | January 2020
What's in the White Paper Tutorial?
Accompanying the White Paper is a step-by-step tutorial describing three methods of restricting use of .edu accounts is available to California community colleges. To request a copy of the document, please contact Omer Usmani, firstname.lastname@example.org
, at the CCC Information Security Center.
What else are we doing about the spam issue?
- Ongoing Development - Enhancements to the machine-learning spam filter model and user interface with regular model updates
- Manual Model Updates (see below) - Supporting colleges by receiving any "false negatives" that the model did not catch but you did. Send them to us and we will update the model with their "fraud status" manually.
- Monthly Discussions - Third Monday of each month. Next meeting = March 16 at 3pm
Support: Send Us Your False Positives
If your college identifies a quantity (20 or more) of fraud applications that were NOT caught and suspended by the spam filter, please send them to us using the instructions below.
SPAM Drop File Information
Please provide bulk fraudulent applications in the format specified below:
- File Format = .TXT
- File Naming Convention = CollegeMISCode_Fraud_mmddyy.txt
- Confirmation # (only1 confirmation # per line)