Telus subsidiary shields e-mail with SpamKiller

A Canadian Internet service provider has chosen McAfee SpamKiller for WebShield to combat the two million spam e-mails its thousands of customers have been receiving every day.

Globetrotter, a subsidiary of Telus Quebec, said Wednesday it completed the initial implementation of the Network Associates International product late last year. The software gives each e-mail message passing through its system an overall spam rating designed to reduce the number of inappropriate content reaching customers’ inboxes.

Serge Coté, Globetrotter’s network operating system and networking consulting director, said SpamKiller has already significantly cut back on the blended threats its customers face. The organization processes up to six million e-mail messages a day and is now detecting 5,000 virus-infected messages per hour.

“”Most of the solutions are client/server. This is a network solution,”” he said. “”There is no link with the mail services. You can make the evolution of the service independently of the mail infrastructure.””

Customers need a product with a robust search engine that is able to do the content filtering in such a way that it can get around the various tricks spammers use, said Network Associates Canadian general manager Jack Sebbag. The word “”viagra,”” for example, might be written as “”vi.a.gra”” or “”v*iagra”” to get around the system. Sebbag said NAI’s tools use scanning technologies to decipher the actual meaning of a word.

“”A lot of the subscribers of ISPs are challenging their service providers to protect them from all this garbage that’s coming in,”” he said. “”Telus is one of the largest to do this, but you’ll see others — AOL, for instance, and MSN — will also start to do something similar.””

Sebbag said SpamKiller for WebShield allows very few “”false positives.”” This is important, he said, because users like Telus Quebec also want to be able to modify the rule sets so that the products don’t filter out mail recipients actually want. “”Some people don’t even want to implement spam technologies, because they’re scared you may be blocking legitimate traffic,”” he said. “”They’re willing to put up with a lot more noise because that’s so critical.””

Coté said he was impressed with the speed at which NAI reacted to the recent MyDoom threat, which put down thousands of computer systems around the world and which some security experts called the fastest-spreading virus in IT history.

“”When a new virus arrives, we can be aware rapidly,”” he said. “”In this case, NAI discovered the MyDoom virus around 4 p.m., and at 5 p.m. we had received the patch. There was only one hour from when the virus was propagated.””

No one can afford to wait on viruses, Sebbag said.

“”This is a touchy game,”” he said. “”If they (ISPs) basically profess or publicize the fact that they’re protecting you against viruses and the viruses get through, they may be liable for some legal action they don’t necessarily want.””

NAI says SpamKiller has an out-of-the-box catch rate of up to 95 per cent.

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