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Microsoft builds spam filters into Exchange

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates used his keynote address yesterday at the annual Comdex 2003 trade show in Las Vegas to announce plans to make the company's Exchange e-mail server better at stopping spam.

The company is adding heuristics-based antispam capabilities to future releases of Exchange Server 2003, which will enable Exchange Server to stop spam e-mail messages before they reach users' e-mail inboxes.

Heuristics antispam technology analyses patterns of content in large numbers of messages, using that information to screen out new threats. The technology is considered more flexible and effective than so-called "signature-based" antispam products, which identify spam messages by matching them to copies of the same messages which have already been received.

The new antispam feature, which Microsoft is calling the Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (IMF), uses heuristics technology developed internally.

Information from Microsoft's Hotmail free Web-based e-mail service will be used to keep the Microsoft heuristics database up to date on the most recent spam trends.

The latest features will be offered to customers who sign on to Microsoft's Software Assurance program, which streamlines licensing different Microsoft products and gives customers automatic product update rights.

A beta version of the antispam features will be available within a month, but Microsoft is not saying when the features will be generally available to Exchange customers.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service


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