RealTime IT News

HP Adds SpamSubtract to New PCs

Computer maker Hewlett-Packard has joined the fight against unsolicited e-mails, announcing plans to pre-load anti-spam software from Mass.-based interMute, Inc. on the newest lines of HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario desktops.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard said interMute's SpamSubtract software would be added to the new desktop PCs to offer consumers a tool to block obscene images and mask offensive text often embedded in unsolicited e-mail.

The SpamSubtract software, launched by interMute earlier this year, takes a two-pronged approach to combating spam. There is a free version (which is what HP is shipping) that camouflages offensive words and blocks the preview of image attachments, which sometimes contain explicit or offensive pictures.

A premium version -- SpamSubtract PRO -- takes the anti-spam fight a step further, allowing users to set up filters to block unwanted mails, which still receiving missives from 'Friends' which can be preset on the software. The paid version costs $29.95.

"An additional benefit of SpamSubtract's isolation approach improves PC security, as spam with harmful attachments is quarantined outside of your Inbox," interMute noted.

For HP, the addition of anti-spam software adds another carrot to lure PC buyers in a market that has stagnated in recent times. "By bundling SpamSubtract on our popular consumer desktop PCs, HP is helping parents protect their children from inappropriate material found in email and providing mill ions of consumers with a highly effective spam-blocking tool that allows users to decide what email is not permitted to enter their Inbox," HP product manager Carol Ozaki said.

Computer manufacturers have shied away from investing in anti-spam software bundled in new PCs, mostly because ISPs and third-party security firms already command a decent chunk of that market.

The HP anti-spam move comes on the heels of industry-wide crusade to stamp out the scourge of e-mail-borne advertising scams. Tech giants Microsoft , AOL Time Warner and Yahoo recently announced a three-way partnership to kick-start an "open dialogue that will include organizations across this industry to drive technical standards and industry guidelines that can be adopted regardless of platform."

The three firms plan to focus on protecting consumers from receiving spam by stopping companies which "use deceptive techniques in e-mail headers specifying the e-mail sender, by leveraging existing directories of Internet addresses such as the Domain Name System to better identify the location from which e-mail is originating."