Spam War Goes Vertical

Postini tool targets e-mail content, traffic patterns.

The battle to stop spam is moving beyond content filtering, signatures and real-time blacklisting of suspect addresses.

New technology from Postini Corp., one of the largest anti-spam software vendors, is taking a vertical-specific approach to spam, looking for e-mail traffic patterns and content specific to the legal and financial services industries.

The software, Postini Perimeter Manager Enterprise Edition, also will support full outbound functionality, such as scanning outgoing messages for viruses and setting attachment policies for outgoing e-mail, said Postini officials, in Redwood City, Calif.

The company is considering adding modules specific to the health care industry and even human resources and procurement departments, according to Shinya Akamine, president and CEO of Postini.

"The moves were making are consistent with the trend that one size doesnt fit all when it comes to stopping spam," Akamine said.

The Enterprise Edition of Perimeter Manager will be available by next month.

Also next month, Postini will introduce its Postini E-mail Threat Identification Network. The service will allow companies that already have an anti-spam solution in place to tap in to Postinis technology for blocking directory harvest attacks. Inquiries made to a mail server could be compared with a list of IP addresses known to be used for directory harvests, and contact with these addresses could be blocked.

Akamine said Postini intends to sell this service directly to enterprises as well as to ISPs and even e-mail server vendors such as IBM, Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Openwave Systems Inc.

In related news, Sybari Software Inc., best known for its anti-virus software, plans to resell Commtouch Software Ltd.s anti-spam software, which relies not on content but on finding patterns in messages sent that identify them as spam. Sybari, of East Northport, N.Y., plans to reposition its content filtering software as an e-mail policy management product.