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Re:RE: ScanMail Message: To Sender, (OT)

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Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 11:36:23 -0800
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Well, You al might find this interesting too:

E-mail filters are great for stemming the flow of unwanted pornography and ads, but are they too good? We here at the InformationWeek Daily last week got a peek at one possible filter future when hundreds of our newsletters were bounced back because of a story we wrote.

Software at Nortel Networks, Motorola, and Citicorp scanned our March 7 Daily and said "no, thanks." And while we'd love to tell you about the offending content, we really want loyal readers at those companies to get this edition, too. Let's just say that one of the words rhymes with "fire us." The story also mentioned, shall we say, the L*ve B*g.

John Pescatore, a Gartner analyst, says even individual characters and character strings are spooking the watchdogs. The problem is that filters--increasingly common components in our lives--are too unsophisticated, Pescatore says. Most see no difference between a newsletter story about "uncouth coding" and real, live "unrequested malicious programming," if you get our drift.

The solution is behavioral filters, or software that doesn't just scan E-mail; it watches what it does or what its attachments do once activated and (presumably) before any damage is done. "It's almost like we are becoming Web psychologists," says Pete Lindstrom, a Hurwitz Group analyst. The good news is that behavioral software is already out from companies such as Finjan Software, Pelican Security, Aladdin Knowledge Systems, and Okena, he says.

The bad news is that IS departments literally don't know what they're missing when using more dogmatic filters, says Tom Bartel, Web-design director of E-mail-distribution house MessageMedia Inc. In the meantime, bear with us when you read sometimes-cryptic stories about "criminal cracker products" like the most recent "rhymes-with-rude wife" outbreak. - Jim Nash


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