IBM steps up war on spam

IBM says it has come up with a new weapon in fight against spam. Known as FairUCE (Fair use of Unsolicited Commercial Email), the new technology is based on the idea of challenging each email from an unknown sender.

FairUCE starts from the premise that IP numbers are unchanging, at least until a machine is switched off. On the other hand, today’s spammers invariably use spoofed email addresses to send out their messages. FairUCE uses those premises to identify whether an email comes from a legitimate email server or a zombie computer or a robot email server. By authenticating the origin of an email from its source, IBM says that FairUCE will not only cut down on spam but also counter the growing threat of phishing, which is also largely based on spoofed sources.

IBM’s new anti-spam weapon differs from Microsoft’s Sender ID, SPF, DomainKeys and other similar technologies as these require the Internet to work together to publish secure identification records. IBM’s approach is to respond to a request to deliver an email by sending back a request for authentication, what is known as a challenge-response. This means that a spammer’s server sending out hundreds of thousands of emails, it must then cope with answering an equal number of authentication requests.

Of course this is all very well if it really is a spamming mail server. If it turns out to be an ordinary user’s machine which happens to have been compromised and turned into a zombie mail server, the owner might be less than pleased that IBM is bombarding it with challenges.

Similarly as Lycos Europe found with its ill fated ‘make love not spam’ campaign of last year, the spammers themselves are not likely to sit still. In the face of what is effectively a DDoS attack they might well respond with challenges of their own.

FairUCE is available through IBM’s alphaWorks a website offering developers an early look at new IBM technologies.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos