Symantec, MX Logic Seal Technology Pact

MX Logic's existing Email Defense Service, which is offered to corporate customers in two service flavors, dubbed Critical Defense and Ultimate Defense, now includes Symantec's Brightmail AntiSpam 6.0 filtering. Symantec announced the purchase of the once-privately-held Brightmail in May, 2004, and wrapped up the acquisition in June.

"We're most excited about bringing best of breed technologies together in a managed service," said Manuel Gonzalez, Symantec's corporate alliance senior manager.

MX Logic's Email Defense incorporates the Denver-based security vendor's own Stacked Classification Framework, which was designed so that new spam filtering technologies could be added to the managed service. The multi-layered approach -- Email Defense currently offers more than 20 different spam filtering schemes -- making the addition of Brightmail a no-brainer.

"The addition of Brightmail gives Email Defense visibility over other managed service vendors," said Gonzalez.

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This is not the first time that Symantec has struck a deal to add Brightmail's anti-spam technology to a managed service. In early September, for instance, U.K.-based MessageLabs said it was going to stick Brightmail into its own managed e-mail security services.

Within Email Defense, the various spam filters, now including Brightmail, separately assess and "vote" on the probability that each message is spam. The Framework then collates those votes and quarantines suspected spam. For its part, MX Logic touted the huge network of honeypots that Brightmail brings to the table. "The scope of its honeypots is staggering," said Scott Chasin, MX Logic's chief technology officer. Symantec's Probe Network sports more than two million spam traps -- often coined as "honeypots" -- in 20 countries.

"Symantec's global network has been monitoring spam for the last four to five years," said Chasin, "and is really the core benefit to MX Logic customers in this expansion of our anti-spam efforts."

Brightmail 6.0, which was first released in 2003, claims a false positive rate of just one in one million messages, includes non-English filters to trap spam written in other languages, and uses 17 different filtering mechanisms of its own to sniff out spam. That last is increasing important: Symantec estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of all global spam is non-English.

The two companies are also pooling their spam threat research efforts for the managed service, said Gonzalez and Chasin. MX Logic's own Threat Center, based in Denver, and Symantec's Brightmail centers in San Francisco, Dublin, Sydney, and Taipei all monitor spam 24/7.

"This service provides the most up-to-date threat information in the industry," said Gonzalez. "In fact, updates [to the service] are done every ten minutes."

Brightmail 6.0 is included in both service packages that MX Logic sells: MX Critical Defense and MX Ultimate Defense. The latter includes everything in the former, plus outbound message filtering and a disaster recovery service that automatically backs up all mail.

Conversations between Brightmail and MX Logic about adding AntiSpam 6.0 to Email Defense Service preceded Symantec's acquisition of Brightmail, said Gonzalez, but were only finalized after the purchase went through. Both Gonzalez and Chasin declined to provide information on the financial terms of the partnership.