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9/18/2007
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IronPort Delivers Intel-Based Anti-Spam Acceleration

The company revises its AsyncOS software for advanced mail servers as spammers attempt to evade filters with image-based messages.

Multi-core chips can deliver cleaner spreadsheets than single CPU silicon and, thanks to IronPort, cleaner in-boxes.

The e-mail security company, a part of Cisco Systems, is brining the multiple cores of Intel's Xeon processor to bear against spammers.

The company said on Tuesday that its proprietary AsyncOS can now utilize of all eight cores present in the dual quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors that power its IronPort X1050 e-mail security appliance. The result is an 800% increase in throughput over a single core appliance, the company said.

That's almost enough to keep up with the 1,300% increase in the size of the average spam message in the past two years. In 2005, according to IronPort, the average spam message weighed in at 3 Kbytes. It now tips the scales at about 40 Kbytes.

The company attributes this message bloat to the shift from text-based messages to HTML messages to image-based messages as spammers attempt to evade filters.

IronPort claims that over 90% of all e-mail is spam and that 80% of spam comes from "zombies" -- PCs that have been subverted and, unbeknownst to their owners, are under the control of a spammer.

The September report released by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a consortium of banks, ISPs, and government agencies, shows a decline in the number of brands phished and in the number of unique phishing URLs from April through June. Phishing -- attempting to dupe people so that they enter personal information at a fake Web site -- is conducted mainly through spam e-mail.

In the report, Laura Mather, Ph.D., senior scientist at MarkMonitor and APWG Managing Director of Operational Policy, observed that "technologies like browser blocking and blocking phishing e-mails at the in-box continue to be successful."

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