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Websense buys Defensio to fight blog comment spam

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Web security and content filtering firm Websense has bought Defensio!, a security startup specialising in defending against blog-comment spam. Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were undisclosed.

Defensio's technology aims to weed out link spam from blogs, user forums and other sites that allow user generated content to be posted. Websense has promised to continue to offer the service without charge to personal sites, and offer a free six-month trial for commercial sites.

Websense said the acquisition recognises the growing impact of web-based spam, including link spam from forums and the like. It reckons between five per cent and eight per cent of web spam links to malicious code, phishing or fraudulent websites.

It further estimates more more than 70 per cent of all web spam and unwanted content comes from legitimate sites that allow user-generated content.

Spammers have experimented with forums beyond traditional email to get their message across for some years. More recently security firms have begun adopting their technology and working with service providers to filter out user-generated crudware.

Meanwhile, social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace have taken spammers, who often hijack profiles to distribute junk messages, to court. They've obtained huge default payouts from these actions, though whether they'll ever collect on fines against the likes of Adam Guerbuez, a Canadian smut peddler, remains doubtful. ®

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