McAfee seems to have come somewhat late to the spam party: Network Associates, Inc. , ‘the leader in intrusion prevention solutions’, today announced that it has incorporated “powerful new Bayesian filtering into the latest McAfee SpamAssassin engine”. What, only now?
Bayesian filtering is a pretty powerful weapon in the war against spam. I use POPFile and K9 and would recommend either, not least because they’re free. But why has it taken so long for McAfee to get around to including it in their SpamAssassin product?
To be fair, the McAfee Bayesian filter is “fully automated in its learning abilities, whereas other competitive solutions require manual training by users or systems administrators”. That is an improvement, but I wonder how well it works.
SpamKiller/Assassin also includes some other features, including Integrity Analysis, which applies algorithms to determine if the email is spam, Heuristic Detection, Content Filtering, Black and White Lists and DNS-Blocklist Support.
There’s talk of several new viruses out there which can do some serious damage. Here are a couple, in brief:
- MyDoom (sometimes known as Novarg and as a variant of the Mimail virus) has a random subject lines such as “Mail Delivery System,” “Test” or “Mail Transaction Failed” and contains an executable file and a statement such as: “The message contains Unicode characters and has been sent as a binary attachment.” CNET quotes Vincent Gullotto, of Network Associates as saying “It’s huge. We have it as a high-risk outbreak.”
- Dumaru has the subject line ‘Important message for you. Read it immediately!’ and may be from someone with an email address that contains expletives (a dead giveaway, unless those are the kind of friends you have). Sophos says the worm poses as an emailed photograph, whilst really attempting to steal online banking details in the background. This is done by something called key-logging — the worm will load software which can capture your keystrokes and send them to the ne’er-do-well so they can access your bank account.
Wayne Rash of InfoWorld, writing last week of the arrival of a worm called Bagle, reckons this kind of outbreak is closely related to college terms. “The worms of summer tapered off as fall progressed,” he says. “By November, things were very quiet. Students were working hard on exams, I guess, and didn’t have time for worm-writing. But now that they’ve been away from the book-learning for a while, we’ve got the first significant worm of ’04.”