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New Products Try To Spurn Spam

Offerings from Open Wave and Turn Tide try to go after spammers at the connection point they use to send their messages.
The latest anti-spam products aren't content trying to block spam from reaching users. Instead, they're taking the battle to the spammers, trying to keep the offending messages off the Internet in first place. These products go after the connections used to send the offending messages, rather than worry about actual spam messages,

At this week's Demo 2004 conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Open Wave Systems introduced OpenWave Edge Gx, designed to give ISPs a proactive approach to stopping spam. Also, Turn Tide Inc. debuted an anti-spam router intended to keep large quantities of spam from being sent onto the Internet.

TurnTide says it has 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 said the anti-spam router--aimed at both ISPs and businesses--can prevent as much as 90% 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 designed to fight spam in three ways, the company says. First, by introducing proactive technologies to supplement the reactive solutions that are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of spam on Net. Second, it's 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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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
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Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing