CSE498, Collaborative Design, Spring 2021
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Founded in 2002, Proofpoint is a cybersecurity company based in Sunnyvale, California, that safeguards their clients and their clients’ data from online threats. Proofpoint identifies and filters threats from email, the web, the cloud, social media and mobile messaging. They protect banks, research facilities, universities and numerous companies across the world.

To this end, Proofpoint has accumulated terabytes of spam and analyzed it to predict potential risks and provide improved security.

Our Predicting the Future through Spam Signal Intelligence system analyzes this spam email data for patterns to help users predict real-world events.

Our system sorts emails by topic and sentiment with machine learning, analyzes them for underlying patterns, then charts them against real-world outcomes to hone the predictive algorithms. These methods can be used to anticipate wide societal events such as election outcomes and stock market fluctuations.

The resulting predictions and data are viewable from our web dashboard. The dashboard can be configured to view statistics such as spam volume, general sentiment regarding a topic, changes in sentiment over time, and projected future sentiment.

Proofpoint analysts evaluating future risks use our dashboard to forecast potential events and take measures early on to ensure they are well-prepared to protect their clients. This allows Proofpoint to provide improved security.

Our back end runs a PostgreSQL database server to store information gleaned from the spam email files. We use Flair and scikit-learn for machine learning and an email parser to extract information from the spam.

Our web dashboard is built on the Django framework and Apache server. It displays information from the database through a React user interface.