Symantec Gets In The Ring With Spam, Zero-Day Threats


Symantec Mail Security (SMS) for SMTP 5.0 is an e-mail gateway-based solution that combines BrightMail’s antispam technology with Symantec’s own antivirus, content filtering and message tracking technologies, said Rick Caccia, senior director of product management for messaging and Web security solutions at Symantec, Cupertino, Calif.

“Messaging is becoming increasingly important to business processes, and taking features out of individual point products gives customers an integrated set of components for managing security,” said Caccia.

SMS for SMTP 5.0 incorporates features from the SMS 8200 appliance, including an e-mail firewall that can determine if a particular IP address is sending spam and take steps to block it, he added.

One key new feature is zero-day protection against threats, which uses information on emerging exploits gathered from Symantec’s network of more than 3 million e-mail addresses. When a suspicious e-mail arrives at the server, this feature can be configured to automatically strip off and quarantine the attachment until a virus definition is released, or simply delete the message, said Caccia.

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Many vendors are attempting to enable zero- day threat protection by adding multiple virus engines in order to maximize detection, but that doesn’t offer the same level of protection as Symantec’s new offering, said Tom MacArthur, principal of Storbase, a solution provider in Waltham, Mass.

“Although you get some incremental benefit from the [former] approach, it’s always better if you can catch viruses early on,” MacArthur said.

Jeff Tye, founder of Tuscon, Ariz.-based solution provider GMP Networks, said Symantec has taken a substantial step forward with the integration of BrightMail’s technology. “SMS for SMTP 5.0 includes better reporting features, and the zero-day capability is something other vendors only do as a licensed add-on,” said Tye.

Customers using SMS for SMTP 4.0 previously could only gain access to the BrightMail features through a licensed add-on, but even that lacked key administrative functions and wasn’t tightly integrated with the solution, added Tye. “You were kind of flying blind [with the add-on],” he said.

SMS for SMTP 5.0 will be available on a per-year, per-user subscription basis. For companies with between 500 and 1,999 users, the offering with antivirus and antispam is priced starting at $18.70 per user, which includes content updates, support and maintenance.