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VeriSign service takes on spam

The service uses more than 10,000 rules to determine whether a message is unwanted, the company says.

VeriSign on Monday announced a new e-mail security service designed to stop viruses and spam.

The service uses custom blacklists, fingerprinting and heuristic tools, which calculate the probability that a particular e-mail message is spam by examining a pattern of characteristics in the message. VeriSign's heuristic tools use more than 10,000 rules to determine whether a message is spam, the company said.

For blocking malicious mail, the service deploys three antivirus engines. For policy enforcement, customers can use domain-level filtering to scan inbound and outbound e-mail. And a disaster recovery feature allows for automatic switchover to VeriSign's network to provide SMTP connections that queue e-mail, if a company's e-mail server is not available.

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The company has begun free trials of the service, which will be available on July 12. Pricing details were not announced.

VeriSign said it plans to add more functions, such as verification of sender identity and domain authentication. Domain names of all incoming mail will be checked against the company's list of verified domains. This list will be made available free to antispam software and service providers.

Although e-mail has become a critical tool for business communication, it is often saddled with problems caused by spam, viruses and worms.

Last week, malicious software infected some Web sites, redirecting visitors to a Russian server that downloaded software onto surfers' computers. Some have speculated that the purpose of this malicious plan was spam distribution. Recently, IBM introduced a security management service to help businesses stop viruses and spam before they enter their networks.

"The introduction of this service will help enterprises restore the productivity gains from e-mail communication that are now under threat from spam and viruses," Judy Lin, executive vice president at VeriSign, said in a statement. "With a service-oriented approach, enterprises can easily obtain comprehensive e-mail protection in a matter of hours, without deploying any software or hardware. This service will enable customers to rely on VeriSign's highly available and scalable infrastructure for mission-critical functions."