Symantec is bringing anti-spam filtering to the desktop with a product that learns about a user's email habits by reviewing outgoing email as well as incoming.Norton Antispam 2004, which launched in New Zealand this week, brings an added dimension to the war on spam, according to Symantec country manager Richard Batchelar (pictured).
"We're seeing ISPs and companies filtering at the server, but you only really get control at the desktop."
Norton Anti-spam will initially be available to anyone using Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or Eudora as well as POP3 based email and the enterprise edition will include support for Lotus Notes and Novel's GroupWise packages. The product integrates with the email client and monitors the user's email sending and receiving habits.
"Your emails will look quite different from mine so the system learns about what sort of emails you usually send. If you send a lot to multiple recipients then it accepts that as something you do and will adjust its rules to comply."
If a user sends emails that include marketing terms, dollar signs, exclamation marks or any of the other indicators that the email is spam then the software adds those things to the acceptable use list it stores in its memory.
The product also makes use of Symantec's live update service to retrieve the latest upgrades of the product.
This year's suite of Symantec releases also incorporates digital rights management software that will restrict the number of times the software can be loaded. Batchelar says this decision was made reluctantly after the latest round of viruses saw piracy rates in anti-virus software sky-rocket.
"At the moment half our revenue comes from the home user segment and we want to protect that."
Eventually, Batchelar agrees, most of the company's revenue will come from online subscriptions to the service and by that point the company could easily be giving away the initial disks for free, however that's still several years away.
"It's certainly the direction the business is moving."