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Email filtering firm MessageLabs yesterday announced a deal to incorporate Symantec's Brightmail anti-spam technology into its own anti-spam service. MessageLabs expects to deliver the new joint anti-spam service to market in Q4 2004.

Mark Sunner, chief technology officer of MessageLabs, said that by combining Symantec's anti-spam software with MessageLabs' proprietary Skeptic predictive anti-spam technology it could offer a far more aggressive junk mail filtering service. This multi-layered approach will result in spam detection rates of up to 98 per cent while minimising false positives, according to Sunner. MessageLabs anti-virus filtering service uses a combination of its Skeptic predictive technology and third party AV applications. It's taking a similar approach in developing its spam filtering service. Brightmail is the first anti-spam app to be added to MessageLabs' service mix.

Symantec Brightmail Anti-Spam 6.0 combats spam using 17 filters and includes non-English language filters, reputation filtering, signatures and URL filters. Its rule set is backed by Symantec’s probe network of over two million spam traps in 20 countries. As foreign language spam become more commonplace, MessageLabs has deciding to tap on Symantec's expertise in this area whilst concentrating its development efforts of detecting unknown and dynamic spam threats in the "window of vulnerability" before a signature is available.

Both MessageLabs and Brightmail targeted the ISP market in the past but Sunner pointed out that MessageLabs sold managed services while Brightmail sold software or "roll your own" technology. He was keen to downplay any perception that former competitors had become partners. ®

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