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Effective spam-blocking can save $$ millions

  • 13 March, 2007 13:42

<p>By David Frost, CEO PR Deadlines Pty Ltd</p>
<p>Image spam, botnets, attacks by fast-evolving Trojans that are followed so closely by waves of spam that these elude Web defences before the anti-virus vendors have time to issue fixes for the Trojans… These are all current news items.</p>
<p>Stories about spam-borne threats to email users have a common thread – malware eludes the filters used by almost all data security vendors.</p>
<p>There is an alternative anti-spam technology which can block ALL spam, but very few vendors, end users or ISPs have embraced it.</p>
<p>It’s called challenge-response (C-R), or blocking. Australian data security vendor TotalBlock Pty Ltd has a C-R-based solution, but there are others. TotalBlock’s Chairman, Peter Stewart, believes the technology would be ideal for ISPs.</p>
<p>But the pace of take-up is slow. Few enterprises or ISPs are prepared to embrace the unknown, and the data security vendors have huge investments in filtering. (They seem to be pretty good at anti-C-R propaganda too).</p>
<p>However, C-R works exceptionally well. In the eight months my own small company has used it we have received TWO spam emails, when the spammers took the trouble to respond to challenges. We’ve had a mere handful of false positives (about one a month), all of which we were able to recover easily.</p>
<p>I have written about six positive case studies, all from SMEs, but TotalBlock will scale up to accommodate the largest enterprise.</p>
<p>We have tried to persuade journalists to review TotalBlock, but only freelance Graeme Philipson has taken up the offer. He thinks it’s so good, that he is now a user.</p>
<p>If ISPs the world over were to move to challenge-response anti-spam systems, corporate and personal savings resulting from the absence of phishing attacks, hijacked computers, virus strikes etc, would be astronomical.</p>
<p>Journalists and others who would like to take a look at challenge-response, should check the TotalBlock live demo site: – email address, - password = demo. It’s fairly straightforward, but TotalBlock will send you instructions in .pdf format on request.</p>
<p>Infotech journalists are also invited to trial TotalBlock for three months – on personal mail if they work for a large organisation.</p>
<p>About TotalBlock</p>
<p>TotalBlock - - is an Australian-developed anti-spam solution that also guards against network overloads caused by storming, harvesting and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. It works by blocking ALL machine-generated unwanted email, using a challenge-response technique rather than commonly used filtering. TotalBlock builds a list of acceptable incoming email senders, using a customer’s address book as well as replying automatically to any emailers who are not on the allowed list. The reply contains a simple action that, when followed, adds the sender to the allowed list. The action can be as simple as replying to the challenge. Since this authorisation process requires human intervention, it bypasses drone machines that spew out huge volumes o</p>
<p>For more information:</p>
<p>Peter Stewart, Chairman,
TotalBlock Pty Ltd
Tel: (02) 9437 9800

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