TSI anti-spam service reduces unwanted mail by 95%

February 2005 Cyber Security

TSI has become the first local service provider to launch an anti-spam service that can reduce unwanted e-mail down to 5% of that usually received.

Michael Brunzlik, MD at TSI, says while some Internet service providers (ISPs) do offer anti-spam measures as part of their packages, this is usually only to their dial-up users. He adds that there are many products sold locally to manage spam, but if they are not regularly updated and maintained, their effectiveness rapidly tails off, hence the decision to provide a service as opposed to a product.

The company initially tested the service in its own environment, then with existing clients and based on that success, it has now released it to the market.

Benefits to companies are that the service is non-intrusive, both to implement and once in place. It is low-risk in terms of business impact and cost because there is no lock-in period.

Frank Biesman-Simons, business development manager at TSI, says this makes the service financially viable for companies of any size, almost immediately. The increase in productivity from staff not having to deal with unwanted mail, and the saving on server space, bandwidth and network infrastructure make it even more attractive, he says.

Brunzlik says there is currently no way spam can be totally eliminated, but his company's service can radically reduce the annoyance factor. "We virtually eliminated spam on our servers, reducing it to 1% of what we previously received.

He adds, "There is a growing trend of using e-mail to initiate denial of service (DoS) attacks. Spammers, crackers and hackers target those organisations with strong spam filtering, using a spoofed originating address, so that when the mail is rejected, the returned mail goes to the spoofed address that has been selected for attack. This floods the system and leads to a denial of service on the spoofed mail server."

One of the technologies used by TSI is a spam heuristic analyser, which looks for thousands of common key phrases and patterns that identify spam mail versus the genuine article. For example, spam mail often contains graphics with HTML-formatted text, and a salutation of 'Dear user' instead of the recipient's name.

Each phrase is allocated a weighting and if the total weighting in the e-mail exceeds an agreed threshold it is deemed to be spam and moved to a separate folder named appropriately, as it may be a false positive. If it is significantly over the threshold it is automatically deleted. TSI tailors this service to meet client needs and adds additional checks over and above those typically included in standard products.

Biesman-Simons add: "The spam management service is part of an all-encompassing intrusion detection and prevention approach. Another aspect of this approach is the additional anti-virus service, also priced very attractively, providing inbound mail checking. Further customised firewall and intrusion detection system services are also available."

All offerings include periodic reports. The spam management service provides reports to designated e-mail addresses regarding the service - how many mails have been processed, how much spam has been identified, what number rejected, and what percentage passed on as examples.

For more information contact Michael Brunzlik, TSI, 011 792 1094, michael@tsi.co.za, www.tsi.co.za





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