Whether you want to get a low-interest loan, cheap prescription drugs or enlarge — well, you get the idea — your daily e-mail probably has the solution. Each day brings dozens or hundreds of messages laced with creative spellings, punctuation marks in strange places or even personal taunts.
The e-mail offers are called spam, after a Monty Python sketch about a restaurant offering almost nothing but the canned meat and a choir of Vikings singing about "glorious Spam, wonderful Spam!"
The odd spelingz and mispla.ced punctuation are intended to defeat antispam filters, which brings up two obvious questions: (1) Who thinks that sending people advertising they don't want — and go to great lengths to avoid — is going to get people to buy their stuff; and (2) Who buys it?
Vikings notwithstanding, some companies' recent offerings are about spam and how to avoid it.
Symantec Corp. has reached a deal to acquire Brightmail Inc., which develops antispam technology. Symantec officials plan to add the antispam capabilities to the company's line of gateway security solutions.
Symantec will pay about $370 million in cash for Brightmail.
"Spam has increasingly become one of the most severe threats to individuals and enterprises today, topping viruses as the No. 1 problem plaguing e-mail systems and administrators," said John Thompson, Symantec chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a written statement. "Brightmail is the leader in helping enterprises, service providers and wireless carriers mitigate this threat," he said. "Their patented technology is a critical component of a comprehensive gateway security solution."
In other acquisition news, Entrust Inc. officials announced plans to purchase the intellectual property of AmikaNow! Corp., which may not be as excitable as the exclamation point suggests. AmikaNow! provides e-mail scanning and antispam tools for enterprise and government customers who are trying to comply with regulatory guidelines and internal e-mail policies.
Entrust will buy advanced content scanning and analysis and add it to the Entrust Secure Messaging and Secure Data Solutions product lines. AmikaNow!'s technology automatically analyzes and categorizes e-mail message and document content based on context. It allows organizational leaders to customize policies to suit their individual needs.
Sophos Plc. has launched a line of computer security products for small organizations of fewer than 100 employees. Sophos specializes in blocking spam and viruses.
According to company officials, the new Sophos Small Business Suite provides full protection against virus threats and spam at all points of entry. The suite includes the Sophos PureMessage Small Business Edition, which combines virus and spam protection for e-mail, and the Sophos Anti-Virus Small Business Edition, which offers comprehensive virus protection.
To help smaller organizations manage security, PureMessage automatically downloads virus and spam updates. It filters mail at the gateway, before it gets into the internal e-mail system, so that neither end users nor administrators have to deal with unwanted mail.
Sophos Anti-Virus, meanwhile, deals with malicious code that can come via routes other than e-mail.
Sophos has also lent its PureMessage to Critical Path Inc. In a new partnership, Critical Path is now offering Critical Path Anti-Spam.
The solution combines Critical Path's messaging software with the Sophos spam filter.
Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) officials have announced 10 gigabit Ethernet connectivity across the company's high-performance computing line, including servers, workstations, advanced graphics systems and storage solutions.
The enhanced data-transfer speed has a broad range of applications, according to SGI officials. It will improve the performance of systems that generate and process terabytes of data, such as flight training simulators and scientific research projects.
"Datasets are only growing larger, particularly in the [high-performance computing] and media environments," said Andrew Fenselau, director of HPC product marketing at SGI. "This new 10 gigabit Ethernet offering addresses the escalating need among our customers to move big data between large production systems and from storage environments as efficiently as possible."
Infortrend Technology Inc. officials have announced the new EonStor A16F-R1211, a dual Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) storage system with 2 gigabits/sec Fibre Channel connectivity.
The A16F-R1211 offers simpler expansion options and fully featured redundant RAID controllers for increased system availability, according to company officials. For continuity of operations, it offers no single point of failure and failover/failback capabilities.
The A16F-R1211 features two Fibre Channel host channels on each controller module routed through an onboard hub to four small modules. Two of the modules connect to host servers and two can act as a daisy chain connection to another A16F-R1211 subsystem. The presence of the two channels eliminates the need for a Fibre Channel switch.