New Trend Micro InterScan Devours Image Spam

Available in software, appliance or hosted-service form, the revamped InterScan Messaging Security Suite combines antivirus, antispam, antispyware, antiphishing and heuristics behavior analysis to proactively identify threats and stop them from entering the network.

Though layered security is always a good idea, it's even more important when it comes to messaging security, said Bob Hansmann, senior product marketing manager at Tokyo-based Trend Micro.

In the new InterScan release, Trend Micro throws in some secret sauce in the form of a proprietary detection technology that foils image spam, an emerging spammer tactic that involves putting text advertisements into a .gif or .jpg file placed in the body of the message and making minute alterations to fonts and background colors to slip them past spam filters, Hansmann said.

Scot Hayden, director of marketing at Communications Finance, a Chicago-based solution provider, expects the new image-spam detection technology to help his customers get a handle on steadily rising spam volumes.

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"A lot of the spam that gets through these days is image spam, especially pump-and-dump stock scams and Viagra advertisements," said Hayden.

Recognizing that the key driver for messaging security is spam, Trend Micro has built three tiers of protection into the InterScan Messaging Security offerings.

The first line of defense compares IP addresses of incoming e-mail against a reputation database, which effectively blocks about 80 percent of spam and other e-mail-borne threats before they reach the network, according to Hansmann.

The second tier, IP Profiler, is a reputation database that resides with the customer and provides more specific, fine-grained threat filtering, and it includes a firewall that guards against common spammer tactics such as directory harvesting and bounce spam, Hansmann said.

In the unlikely event that a spam message gets through the first two lines of defense, it will be summarily snatched by Trend Micro's composite antispam engine, Hansmann added.

"Given the nonstop flood of spam, it's not just a matter of keeping threats out of the inbox, but keeping them out of the network entirely," he said.