Feeds

Cloudmark takes anti-spam to the edge

Content filtering at the network edge to keep spam off the core

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Anti-spam developer Cloudmark claims its high-volume content-filtering email gateway could prevent almost all unwanted email from reaching a network's mail servers.

Many carriers and large enterprises run basic filters and throttles at the network edge, because if they can reject spam there, it takes a pile of dirt off their infrastructure and saves bandwidth, processing and storage. They then run the remainder through content filters such as Cloudmark in the core, before delivering it to users.

Neil Cook, Cloudmark Europe's technology chief, claimed the new gateway (or message transfer agent, MTA) could increase the effectiveness of edge filtering from perhaps 60 or 70 per cent to over 90 per cent, taking yet more load off the network.

He added that with junk now representing as much as 95 per cent of all US email traffic, and maybe 85 per cent of European email traffic, it is essential to block it as early as possible - but until now, content filtering has required too much processing power to do it at the network edge.

According to Cloudmark, its MTA can process messages 20 to 40 times faster than other content filters, making it feasible to do at the edge. Each MTA can scan more than three million messages an hour for spam, viruses and phishing attacks, the company said.

Cook said that the secret of its speed is that it runs messages through just eight single-pass 'fingerprinting' algorithms, rather than using techniques such as pattern-matching.

"Most of our competitors work on heuristics, and have manual centres around the world with people writing new rules to block spam as it is reported," he said. "The problem is that spam is randomised now and changes very rapidly.

"Cloudmark's intelligent fingerprinting algorithms extract the essence of the message - its characteristics and structure, not the text - so they are resistant to mutation and are not language-dependent."

He added that the next thing is for carriers to use these gateways on outbound traffic too, throttling or blocking spam from leaving their infrastructures, and alerting abuse teams to unusual traffic patterns that might indicate zombie PCs.

"There's so much going on in your network that's not through your mail system, and if you can't detect that, you get blacklisted. Blacklisting is a huge incentive - ISPs hate being blacklisted, because of the customer service calls and costs," he said, pointing to Tiscali's recent woes.

Cloudmark's technology is based on Vipul's Razor, an open source spam-filtering scheme invented by its founder, Vipul Ved Prakash. Cook said the Cloudmark version is also available for smaller organisations to use as a SpamAssassin plug-in, replacing Vipul's Razor. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'
Public IaaS... something's gotta give - and it may be AWS
Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it
CEO says it will be 'undisputed leader' in enterprise cloud tech
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.