Lotus to include new antispam tools in Notes R6

Lotus Software Group will include new, server-side tools to reject spam before it hits an end user's mailbox in its upcoming Notes R6 software, the next version of the IBM subsidiary's e-mail and collaboration software, the company announced today.

According to Ed Brill, manager at IBM Software Group, R6 will offer the ability to automatically block e-mail from Internet Protocol addresses such as those listed on Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC's (MAPS) Realtime Blackhole List (RBL). MAPS, a nonprofit operation run mostly by volunteers in Redwood City, Calif., vets complaints from individuals and companies about bulk, unsolicited commercial e-mail, colloquially known as spam. If MAPS finds a individual or company is responsible for sending spam as it defines it, the organization places the associated IP address on the RBL. Service providers and companies can then subscribe to the list and set blocks so their servers won't accept e-mail coming from those IP addresses.

In Notes R6, the server software will automatically block the sites on the RBL, as well as filter the header and body of an e-mail for key words and phrases an administrator considers a likely indicator of spam. In the current version of the software, R5, Notes administrators can set up these rules. But in R6, the scripts come ready to be run out the the box, requiring only the addition of words and phrases, Brill said.

Although any improvement to antispam products is a good thing, said Matt Cain, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., "it's not state-of-the-art." If Notes R6 is compared with some of the specialized, third-party antispam software already available, "it's in the same league, but it won't win on feature function," he said.

Spam software can and should identify spam signatures and provide a lexicon or words or scripts to "tar pit" a blast of e-mails sent from the same domain, Cain said.

R6 is due to be released in September, but analysts have suggested it could be delayed to later in the year.

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