RealTime IT News

McAfee: 'Who Ya Gonna Call?'

Looking to cash in on the barrage of unsolicited e-mails clogging inboxes nationwide, anti-virus software firm McAfee.com on Tuesday announced the rollout a branded version of the recently-acquired 'SpamKiller' service for businesses and consumers.

McAfee said 'SpamKiller', which was acquired from Norway-based Novasoft, would be released as a managed service that helps PC users block spam from e-mail inboxes and track the source ISP of the mailer.

With spam on the rise -- researchers say a typical consumer will receive 1,500 pieces of spam a year -- McAfee has made a bold play to cash in on this lucrative market for anti-spam services, touting 'SpamKiller' as the "perfect alternative."

"SpamKiller helps stop spam email, tracks the mail back to the source ISP and sends complaints to the spammer's service provider, while automatically returning a false "bounced" email message to the spammer," McAfee said.

The company said the software would be perfect for small- to medium-sized businesses and consumers who lack the resources to implement high-cost anti-spam software.

The software, which is priced at $29.95, connects directly to a user's POP3 or MAPI-compatible email account and scans all incoming messages for addresses of known spammers, McAfee said.

It said 'SpamKiller' would then employ filtering protocols that examine the subject line, body of text, message header and country code for trigger words or phrases commonly found in unsolicited e-mails. Once detected, the spam is automatically barred from the user's inbox.

'SpamKiller' has been programmed to go a step further by automatically returning a false "bounced" e-mail message to the spam generator, a task that attempts to signal that the address is inactive.

"Spammers will often respond by "scrubbing" their lists of such addresses, helping to spare users from future mailings and saving them from the hassle of having to unsubscribe from multiple email lists. SpamKiller also retraces the route of the spam message back to the mail server and can be configured to automatically send a complaint on the recipient's behalf to the spammer's service provider, system administrators, or any other address the user chooses," McAfee said.

The software, which will go up against similar services offered by Brightmail and SpamCop, also allows users to create a "friends" list to safeguard against the deletion of legitimate e-mails.

McAfee said 'SpamKiller' would join its Privacy Service line of anti-abuse services. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also hawks PC security and management application services and products for consumers and small to medium-sized businesses over the Internet.