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McAfee.com launches SpamKiller

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

McAfee.com Corp yesterday unveiled the latest in its lineup of managed security application services, SpamKiller, targeted at small and medium sized enterprises that are fed up with receiving unsolicited commercial email.

"It's not really a security problem," said McAfee.com VP of worldwide marketing Atri Chatterjee, "but boy is it a nuisance." McAfee's core strategy is to provide security applications that blur the line with managed services due to their update frequency.

SpamKiller is a desktop application that essentially augments the filters in POP3 or MAPI email clients to more clearly identify spam. Using a preset collection of hundreds of filters, the software identifies spamlike tendencies in subjects, body text and addresses.

The application filters the email at download into a local "kill list", said Chatterjee. He admitted that this doesn't solve the bandwidth-eating problem spam can cause, but said SpamKiller can be configured to not download email that looks suspicious, obviously at the expense of being able to browse the kill list.

As a safeguard against false positives, the application can be set to always accept email from known sources, such as names in one's address book. Another feature is the ability to have false "bounce" messages sent to the spammer, in the hope that they might remove the user's address from their spam lists.

Chatterjee said that SpamKiller will become a part of McAfee.com's recently announced Grid Security Services program, in which applications provide automatic threat feedback to the company, to keep information and updates fresh. Spammers have a tendency to stay one step ahead of the game when it comes to avoiding filters, and the Grid may help McAfee.com stay current.

The application costs $39.95 for a perpetual license, with a $10 discount for the next month or so, but Chatterjee said the subscription service version, which will provide the vital updates and is likely to cost around $29.95 a year, will be released in three months. The software was acquired when McAfee.com bought the intellectual property rights from its creator, Norwegian software house Novasoft, in April.

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