Boeing's Security Move

Aircraft maker funds E-mail-filtering startup to help fight spam
After the recent outbreaks of the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus, vendors can't seem to crank out products designed to help stem unwanted and harmful E-mail fast enough. The latest entry into the market comes from an unusual pedigree: Boeing Co.

MessageGate Inc. is backed by $5.1 million in venture funding, including an undisclosed equity stake from Boeing Ventures, the aircraft maker's venture-capital unit. The technology was conceived by an IT team trying to solve a spam problem in the company, and it's the first fruit of Boeing's Chairman's Innovation Initiative to market ideas developed for internal use. Polaris Venture Partners and Northwest Venture Associates also invested.

The startup enters a crowded market for anti-spam and E-mail security tools, but Boeing has reason to believe it can compete. Before it sought investors to help spin off the company, Boeing offered a test version of MessageGate to other large multinational companies, which led to suggested improvements and several agreements to purchase the finished product.

The first product, MessageGate Security, is designed to filter and secure E-mail by creating a statistical profile of each inbound, outbound, or internal message and applying filter categories and rules based on company policies, rather than relying on known spam attributes or blacklists. It's also planning a compliance tool to help companies contend with regulations by ensuring that E-mails meet internal policies.

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