Mirapoint fattens up spam stoppers

FRAMINGHAM (11/07/2003) - Mirapoint Inc. is fortifying its e-mail security appliance with new anti-spam filters and administrator and end-user tools to help users manage unwanted e-mails.

The upgrades to Mirapoint Messaging Director's operating system offer companies 96 percent effectiveness in catching unwanted e-mails while maintaining a less than 1 percent occurrence of false positives, or messages mistakenly marked as spam, says Jeff Brainard, senior product marketing manager with the company.

The new anti-spam software, called Full-Spectrum and scheduled for a November release as part of Messaging Director Operating System Version 3.5, uses heuristic rules-based scanning that searches an incoming message's contents, header and attachments for telltale signs of spam, and assigns the message a rating based on that analysis. Network administrators can set thresholds - for example they can decide any message with a rating of 50 or higher should be identified as spam, Brainard says.

Once Full-Spectrum has determined a message is spam, network administrators can opt to have the message tagged by inserting the word "spam" at the beginning of the subject line, and store the message in a quarantined in-box or have it automatically deleted. Junk mailboxes are stored on the Mirapoint appliance, which users can check periodically. Users also can set up their own black and white lists, which define e-mail addresses that should always be blocked and never be blocked, respectively, Brainard says.

Mirapoint, which competes with other e-mail security appliance makers such as BorderWare Technologies Inc. and CipherTrust Inc., says its appliance offers integrated spam and virus protection that companies can get up and running in less than 15 minutes, adding that it will require minimal maintenance.

"We're very decentralized, so we were looking for an all-in-one appliance . . . instead of having to integrate products," says Marc Palano, IT director with Illinois Tool Works Inc., a manufacturing company with about 10,000 e-mail users that uses Mirapoint's appliance.

Illinois Tool Works has its business units around the world direct e-mail to the company's headquarters first, where Mirapoint's appliance checks it for spam and viruses and then forwards it back to the units over a VPN (virtual private network), Palano says. Of the hundreds of thousands of e-mails Full-Spectrum sifts through per day, about 50,000 spams are caught.

Messaging Director Operating System Version 3.5 is priced from US$2.60 per user annually for companies with less than 5,000 users to $1.25 per user annually for organizations with 20,000 users or more.

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