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Server-side antispam solutions

Part six in our nine-part series on managing spam.

About the book


For many companies and individuals, spam is an annoyance and undesired expense. This series excerpt from Privacy: What Developers and IT Professionals Should Know offers advice on what we can do to fight spam, how we can protecting legitimate e-mail and develop e-mail-friendly solutions.

Author J.C. CANNON, privacy strategist at Microsoft's Corporate Privacy Group, specializes in implementing application technologies that maximize consumer control over privacy, and enable developers to create privacy-aware applications. Cannon organized Microsoft's Privacy Response Center, an automated resource for tracking privacy issues throughout Microsoft. He works closely with Microsoft product groups and external developers to help them build privacy into applications. He also contributed the chapter on privacy to Michael Howard's Writing Secure Code. Cannon has spent nearly twenty-five years in software development.

Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Addison Wesley Professional.

For enterprises and ISPs, the client-side filter does nothing to relieve the network traffic or reduce the resources needed to process e-mail. To positively impact a company's infrastructure costs, an antispam solution needs to stop spam before it enters the enterprise. This section looks at various types of solutions to help do this.

Block list companies

A block list is a list used to indicate e-mail addresses or domains from which you want to block e-mail. Companies have used their own lists for years to help determine which e-mails are spam. Block list companies such as Brightmail, Spews.com, and SpamCop make the process more efficient by combining lists from multiple companies. This is one of the easiest ways for companies to protect themselves from unwanted e-mails. The savings made from not having to process spam can easily compensate for the fee charged by these companies.

Antispam server software

IronPort not only creates systems to permit companies to send bulk e-mail, they also sell servers that enable companies to filter spam.

In addition, two solutions—Spam Sleuth and SpamSquelcher—take a slightly different approach to the way that they protect companies from spam.

Enterprise from Blue Squirrel provides a solution that blocks spam from reaching a company's e-mail server. This product enables administrators to configure the many filtering options while enabling users to personalize their settings through a client application. The following list identifies some of the product's many features:

  • Works with any e-mail server
  • Challenge-response to force senders to validate their e-mail at a Web site
  • Permits domain-level rejection or acceptance lists
  • Replies to spam transmissions as undeliverable
  • Validates senders by using the following criteria:
  • Checks for missing reply address
  • Validates that from address is equivalent to reply address
  • Compares the IP and DNS data against rejection lists
  • Checks subject and body text against blocked words

The product SpamSquelcher is marketed by ePrivacy Group. This product is unique in that it does not block any e-mails from reaching your company. What it does is increase the processing time for delivering spam for companies sending spam. In this manner, legitimate e-mail is not accidentally lost because of an overly sensitive filter. Decreasing the delivery bandwidth for spam has the effect of increasing the bandwidth for legitimate e-mail while increasing the costs of spammers who send e-mail to companies that deploy this technology.
Next section: Developing e-mail-friendly solutions

Index Page

Some companies sell software that is run on a server between the Internet and the company's e-mail server. The purpose of this software is to remove the burden of filtering e-mail from the e-mail server. This type of software can relieve companies of the expense of having to create and manage their own solution. In an effort to benefit from their investment in antispam software, for example, Boeing is commercializing its internal solution, which it is calling MessageGate Security Edition.
This was last published in April 2005

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