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Times and threats have changed but anti-spam is still a 'thing'

Anti-spam engines now rely on AI, global detection sensors and networks to adjust to the way new forms of spam are being sent today.

Johannesburg, 02 Aug 2019
Read time 3min 50sec

E-mail remains the most common vector of attack for hackers, and so spam will never go out of fashion. What this means for companies, and all e-mail users for that matter, is that anti-spam is still very much a thing. Not only is it necessary to have anti-spam, it is also necessary to make sure that combating tools keep pace with evolving hacker tactics.

This is according to Michael Morton, Solutions Architect at specialist managed IT security services company Securicom. Citing the Symantec 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, he says at least 55% of e-mails received in 2018 were categorised as spam. Not only is e-mail a conduit for spam, it is also used by cybercriminals for phishing and to disseminate malware.

“Hackers are using more sophisticated spamming tools and are continually fine-tuning their methods. In the beginning, spam was sent directly to users and the spammers made no effort at all to disguise the sender information. This could easily be blocked simply by blacklisting the sender or sending an IP address,” says Morton.

“Today, spammers are using proxy pools, modem pools and open relays to send spam and to mask the identity of the true sender. These new forms of spam cannot be stopped by just adding a static blacklisting rule. Anti-spam engines now rely on artificial intelligence (AI), global detection sensors and networks to adjust to the way spam is being sent today. Outdated, old-generation anti-spam tools are not equipped with these capabilities,” he says, stressing that not all anti-spam solutions are created equal.

“The filtering solution applied to your e-mail system uses a set of protocols to determine which of your incoming messages are spam and which are not. This is typically a score-based mechanism. The more spam mails you ‘see’ every day, the better the solution becomes in identifying and stopping spam-related mails.

“But remember that spam is just one challenge within the e-mail ecosystem. You will only be protecting yourself against spam with a standalone anti-spam tool. There is also phishing and malware to contend with. An integrated e-mail security solution that makes use of multiple industry-leading tools from a variety of vendors would be the best option.”

Securicom’s e-Purifier, for instance, is a comprehensive e-mail management solution that combines best-of-breed anti-spam tools with IP reputation lookup; URL reputation filtering; URL redirection; anti-virus; anti-malware; impersonation protection; and advanced threat protection mechanisms such as Content Deconstruct and Reconstruct.

e-Purifier uses multiple, globally recognised, market-leading technologies together with its own intellectual property in providing a best-of-breed solution, ensuring that the client is protected against all known and unknown mail threats. e-Purifier is a pure cloud solution, and all data and processing is 100% local.

“e-Purifier does not subscribe to any global cloud at all. This is significant. When your anti-spam solution is located in the cloud, it provides an instant bandwidth saving and removes processing overhead on the company infrastructure. However, with POPI and GDPR in full swing, companies need to not only know where their mails reside, but also ensure that it is compliant in terms of these legislations,” says Morton.

With e-Purifier being offered as a managed service to which companies subscribe, Securicom’s innovation team continuously monitor their clients’ environments for any new or evolved threat. And e-Purifier is continuously evolving to include additional features and functionality to ensure that subscribing companies are protected against all known and unknown threats. Over the years, as technologies have come and gone, e-Purifier has made technology shifts within its ecosystem, ensuring the best possible breed of technologies to cover all e-mail threats. This is done seamlessly for customers with no extra costs.

Morton concludes: “Spam has been around since the 1990s, making it an old threat, and you would expect that anti-spam solutions to be able to deal with it. However, although the form in which it is delivered remains the same, the threats within are more complex and are always evolving. Year on year, this is becoming more rapid and sophisticated. You need a solution that adjusts with time, together with highly qualified support, to help identify and stop current and emerging threats.”

Securicom

Securicom provides best in industry cloud-based Managed IT Security Services to address the increasing and ever evolving security threats that businesses face. Its partnerships with leading, global technology providers, combined with extensive experience in building and delivering locally hosted security services, ensure that its partners and customers can benefit from state of the art IT security, regardless of their size or number of users. Securicom’s solutions include email, endpoint and web protection, network security and cyber security monitoring. Securicom has offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Namibia; and has customers across the globe. For more information on Securicom, please visit www.securicom.co.za.    

Editorial contacts
Kerry Webb (082) 496 0713 kerry-lee@mweb.co.za
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