National Assembly of Quebec sics appliance on spam

Corporate enterprises may be losing the war on spam, but the National Assembly of Quebec believes it is winning a few of the battles.

The provincial parliament says it has seen a major decrease in the unsolicited e-mail messages

it receives following the deployment of a Meridius edge appliance from Richmond Hill, Ont.-based BlueCat Networks.

According to Réal Waite, QNS network manager, the National Assembly received 435,000 e-mail messages last month. Of these only 77,000 got through the Meridius appliance. The rest – 355,000 – were all rejected. Only 101 messages got through and were subsequently blocked by the organization’s anti-virus software. 

“(Before we deployed BlueCat) our users had a lot of spam,” said Waite, adding that the problem he faces is complicated by the fact that as a political organization and with a large number of the e-mail addresses that are publicly listed, his users’s inboxes are easy for spammers to find. 

Meridius is a dedicated mail relay that uses Recurrent Pattern Detection technology to identify and quarantine spam and viruses in real-time regardless of language, content or message format.

When Meridius receives a message, it captures the digital signature and header information and forwards a query to the Detection Centre’s real-time database. These signatures are analyzed and matched against more than six million signatures and returned to Meridius tagged as either unknown, suspected, bulk or spam. It is then either accepted or rejected. 

Michael Hyatt, BlueCat’s president and CEO, said dedicated network appliances — so-called edge devices that throw a proverbial moat around the fortification of your organization – are exploding in the enterprise, leading to a booming business for the five-year-old firm. BlueCat is now the primary supplier of DNS and DHCP appliances, for example, to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“These filters aren’t human so they can be tricked. It’s a cat and mouse game,” Hyatt said. “Our box sits on ISPs all around the Earth looking for recurring patterns starting from different locations and suspect routing. If an alleged bank message routes through China or Nigeria it’s probably not legitimate.”

Waite said Meridius has offered his team an additional advantage because each user maintains his or her own account. Each day they can check the messages that were rejected and accept legitimate messages. Coupled with the self-updating nature of the device this dramatically cuts down on the amount of time the IT staff must dedicate to support and maintenance, he said.

“I don’t think we can live without this kind of product,” said Waite.


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