Software developers and companies that provide e-mail services are offering their own cures for the plague of spam.
Ipswitch Inc. is joining the growing ranks of e-mail server software developers to add built-in spam defenses with the launch this week of Version 8 of its IMail product.
The Lexington, Mass., company is extending its anti-spam support in Version 8 to include Bayesian filtering—a statistical analysis technology used to personalize Web pages—for filtering content. IMail 8.0, available now, also supports a variety of real-time filters, including black-hole lists for blocking domains of known spammers, wild-card kill lists, white lists, inbound and outbound rules, and connection filters.
The update means that Windows-based IMail now offers capabilities usually found only in Unix mail systems, said Sandy Whiteman, chief technologist at Cypress Integrated Systems Inc., which runs IMail 8.0.
"Theyre playing with the big boys now," said Whiteman, in New York. IMail 8.0 "gives you the ability to consult real-time blacklists and stop spam at the source, as opposed to letting it come down to the mail server."
Whiteman said that no anti-spam solution can stop everything but that IMail 8.0 stops 85 to 98 percent of spam at client sites.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp., America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc., which each provide e-mail services, last week issued a rare joint announcement advocating a multipronged approach to fighting spam. They are promoting anti-spam technology, responsible customer communications, legislation, enforcement and consumer education.
The companies hope to create and take to the rest of the industry best practices and technical standards that would counter spammers tactics. They will also enlist the government and consumers to help defeat spam.
The multipronged approach is the only one that will work, according to Jim Fitzjarrell, senior director of operational excellence at Verio Inc., an ISP in Denver.
"[The Microsoft-AOL-Yahoo statement] is very refreshing to all of us," Fitzjarrell said. "Its something weve been talking about a lot the last several months as the amount of spam has picked up."