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5/3/2005
01:59 PM
John Dickinson
John Dickinson
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Getting Less Spam Lately?

You may have noticed that it's become a little quiet in the world of anti-spam technology these days. Sure, Mirapoint Commtouch, and Borderware all announced new releases of their already proven products this week, but those upgrades are not much more than "point" releases that provide incremental services to existing customers. Good services, mind you, but nothing that represents a new breakthrough in the war against spam. I don't think that's because it's still early spring or because W. is st

You may have noticed that it's become a little quiet in the world of anti-spam technology these days. Sure, Mirapoint Commtouch, and Borderware all announced new releases of their already proven products this week, but those upgrades are not much more than "point" releases that provide incremental services to existing customers. Good services, mind you, but nothing that represents a new breakthrough in the war against spam. I don't think that's because it's still early spring or because W. is still in office, but rather it's because the inbound side of the spam problem has largely been solved.

Earlier this year Security Pipeline editor Mitch Wagner said "Spam volume will increase, but we'll see a solution for spam. I don't know what it is, but it will combine new technology and legal weapons to go after spammers and diminish the flow of junk to a trickle." He was wrong about the legal weapons and for that matter wrong about new technology, or at least earth-shatteringly new technology, but he was right that the flow of spam into enterprise and consumer inboxes has been reduced to a trickle.

The important work is being done to develop new technology that stems the flow of spam at the source. The technique is to block the 70% or so of spam that emanates from zombie PCs networked into BotNets by spammers. That requires ISPs to step up and adopt technologies that will monitor outbound e-mail traffic and throttle outbound spam attacks the nanosecond they are detected. That will also stem phishing attacks and many virus attacks at the same time--hardly a bad thing.

Among the other pieces of good news that goes with the reduction in inbound spam, this year's spring edition of the Inbox Conference will not be so overwhelmed by spam as was last year's. Hopefully that means that we won't be faced with gritted-teeth smiles when AOL and Yahoo! try to cooperate with Microsoft on anti-spam standard attempts that won't work no matter who's behind them.

And that's a good thing because I don't think I could take that level of balderdash (get my meaning?) again.

John Dickinson is editor of Messaging Pipeline.

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