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Secure Computing Wages War Against Image Spam

Secure Computing Wages War Against Image Spam

Secure Computing Research Confirms 200 percent Jump in Image Spam;
Traditional Anti-spam Techniques Ineffective

New Zealand, Auckland, November 1, 2006 – Secure Computing Corporation (NASDAQ: SCUR), a leader in enterprise gateway security, today announced it is waging war against image spam, where spammers hide messages in image files to escape detection.

Over the past few months, Secure Computing Research has identified a 200-percent increase in the amount of image spam, which today accounts for 30 percent of all spam and approximately one in every four messages circulating on the Internet.

Image-based spam is a particularly difficult problem for a couple of reasons. It is much harder to detect with conventional spam-filtering and blocking technologies. Further, it is typically much larger than normal text-based spam, consuming much more bandwidth and storage.

A real menace to businesses

“Traditional anti-spam software depends on content filtering techniques such as keyword filtering and Bayesian analysis to detect spam,” said Eric Krieger, Country Manager for Secure Computing in New Zealand. “Even the technology used to recognise characters from images, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), is not effective on today’s image spam.

“Spammers are using advanced mathematical and graphical techniques like random modification of image pixels and dynamic construction of images from multiple components to bypass spam filtering tools.”

TrustedSource engine developed to stop image spam
Businesses cannot afford to depend solely on localised protection using algorithms that quickly become obsolete and cannot accurately filter new threats like image spam. Krieger said, “Secure Computing has evolved its TrustedSource™ engine over the years to dynamically detect and block traffic from illegitimate sources using a global reputation approach. TrustedSource collects information on email senders and the types of email they generate by accumulating data from more than 7000 sensors located in 48 countries. As it gets more data, the breadth and depth of the TrustedSource database increases, accurately categorising sender reputations for multiple identities including IP, domain and URL reputations. This approach has proven effective to proactively delete image spam before it hits the corporate mail server in US organisations.”

One such organisation is Baptist Health Systems has long depended on Secure Computing’s IronMail with TrustedSource to battle messaging threats such as image spam to keep productivity levels from becoming significantly reduced.

"Baptist Health Systems has been working with Secure Computing's solutions for quite some time and has been battling spam of all forms using the TrustedSource technology," said Phillip Moses, exchange messaging engineer at Baptist Health Systems. "As spammers changed their methods, we, like the rest of the world, saw an increase in image spam, and recent trends show the problem is only going to get worse. Fortunately, our use of IronMail with TrustedSource has helped us to battle against this increase and we will continue to look to Secure Computing to help us fight image spam."


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