90% of e-mails exchanged are spam!

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 19, 2008 10:58 hrs

Chennai: About ninety per cent of e-mails exchanged by people across the globe are spam! And this has resulted in an increased threat of virus attacks on our computer systems.

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The attack vectors are no more in the form of simple mail attachments that can be blocked or deleted easily. Rather these viruses now traverse the Net space as embedded, malicious URLs in the e-mail body.

Highlighting the emerging trends in e-mail virus, Varun Kohli, Product Marketing Manager of California-based Secure Computing Corporation, says the use of artificial intelligence techniques in spamming, which started with simple image spam, are rising at an alarming rate. There are a host of new spamming techniques such as SPIM, SPLOG, SMOG, Image Spam, PDF spam etc

But everything is not so bad after all! Such virus attacks, feels Varun, can still be tackled with proactive protection using “reputation-based” technology which adds an essential protection layer against most threats including insidious Web-borne malware, morphing viruses, targeted phishing attacks, etc.

So what is reputation technology? This involves creating a “reputation” profile for malicious viruses entering the system. This is done by enterprise gateway security solutions such as Secure Computing’s TrustedSource, used for the purpose. These software eliminate as much as 90 per cent of incoming spam before they enter the network gateway. This saves significant bandwidth usage too.

The system accumulates data from over 7000 sensors in 82 countries, creating a real-time profile of all suspicious activity and content, and then watches for deviations based on the expected behaviour. This information is then converted into “reputation scores” that enable it to quickly and proactively identify and accurately reject or quarantine unwanted traffic from illegitimate or “suspect” sources.

This new system of tackling viruses using ‘glocal’ solutions, says Varun, is the ideal one. Glocal solutions, coined by the combination of the terms - Global and Local - provide “global” reputation of the sender, message, attachment, domain and URL coupled with advanced filtering techniques using “local” inbox policies.

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So, are there any clean procedures that a user can follow to save himself from virus attacks? Yes, says Varun. Virus infections can be rendered harmless by following the 3P and R strategy — proactive protection using reputation-based solutions, predictive protection using anomaly detection and file threat systems, preventive protection like blocking transfer of potentially hazardous file types and reactive protection using AV signatures at the desktop and at the gateway level.

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Secure mail, says Varun, offers all these services at one stroke. This latest email solutions from the US company provides a secure email connection between an enterprise network and a public network It also has multiple detection techniques to ensure that both formatted data (credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.) as well as unformatted data (engineering schematics, contracts, customer lists, etc.) are discovered while in transit.

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