Report From Demo: New Products Try To Spurn Spam

Scottsdale. Ariz. -- The latest anti-spam products aren't content trying to block spam from reaching end users. Instead, they're taking the battle to the spammers, trying to keep the offending

February 19, 2004

2 Min Read
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Scottsdale. Ariz. -- The latest anti-spam products aren't content trying to block spam from reaching end users. Instead, they're taking the battle to the spammers, trying to keep the offending messages off the Net in first place. Instead of worrying about actual spam messages, these products go after the connections used to send the offending messages.

At the Demo 2004 conference here this week, Open Wave Systems introduced OpenWave Edge Gx, designed to give ISPs a proactive approach to stopping spam. Turn Tide, meanwhile, debuted an anti-spam router intended to keep large quantities of spam from being sent onto the Net.

TurnTide Inc., based in Conshohocken, Penn., claims to have created an "anti-spam router." According to CEO, president, and founder Lucinda Duncalfe Holt, TurnTide uses a technique called TCP Traffic Shaping to identify the actual sending server or router sending the spam, or "spam cannons," based on their behavior.

Once a connection is identified as acting badly and having a high likelihood of being a spammer, Holt says, the anti-spam router manages the bandwidth of its connections to limit the number of messages the connection can send into the network. Preventing the connection from sending mail except on TurnTide's terms, Holt said, "doesn't let spammers deliver the volume of e-mail needed for their business model to succeed."

Holt claimed that the anti-spam router--targeted at both ISPs and enterprises--can prevent as much as 90 percent of spam messages from entering the system. The anti-spam router is available now at prices starting at $20,000, depending the number of users, network traffic, and configuration.Open Wave Edge Gx is intended to fight spam in three ways, says the Redwood City, Calif., company. First, by introducing proactive technologies to supplement the reactive solutions that are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of spam on Net. The company says it's like playing an active defense instead of just trying to be the goalie. Second, Edge Gx is designed to employ those proactive technologies at the edge of the network, not just at the client. Third, it delivers these products at a scale that makes them suitable for ISPs.

Similarly to TurnTide, Edge Gx works by using a voting framework to run a series of multiple, weighted tests connections to see if they violate the standards of good behavior. If they do, the connection is blocked from sending bursts of messages, effectively raising the spammer's costs to send mass quantities of messages.

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