• United States

P-Cube adds anti-spam capability

Sep 22, 20043 mins
Cisco SystemsInternet Service ProvidersMalware

* P-Cube unveils anti-spam features to line of IP traffic control devices

Just weeks after it announced plans to be acquired by network industry behemoth Cisco, P-Cube unveiled new anti-spam features for its line of IP traffic control devices used by ISPs.

P-Cube’s anti-spam features target the problem of spam zombies, which are similar to viruses because they infect end user machines and cause stricken systems to send bulk e-mail without the end user’s knowledge.

Spam zombies have become a significant problem in recent months, with an estimated 5 million or more active zombies having been distributed worldwide, according to P-Cube. Indeed, P-Cube estimates that anywhere from 30% to 70% of spam originates from spam zombies.

“Spam zombies affect service providers on multiple levels,” says Milind Gadekar, vice president of P-Cube. “Service providers can get blacklisted as the originators of spam if they have zombies on their networks. So it’s definitely a PR issue…But it’s also an issue of the service provider being able to manage their networks effectively and to reduce the network and server load caused by spam zombies.”

P-Cube has added the anti-spam protection to its Engage software, which runs on its Service Engine platforms. Engage analyzes IP applications and reports on activity levels to network managers, who use the information to control traffic by individual subscriber, time of day or bandwidth usage.

Now Engage will report on suspicious e-mail activity such as e-mail volume or usage of multiple SMTP servers. ISPs can use Engage to block outgoing SMTP traffic by subscribers that they believe have been infected by a spam zombie.

P-Cube says the new spam detection capability works in gigabit-speed broadband networks and causes no performance delays. It also allows ISPs to alert subscribers that a spam zombie may have infected their PCs.

“We’re not trying to replace spam filtering on e-mail servers,” Gadekar says. “We’re trying to add another layer of protection by identifying and block spam at the source.”

The anti-spam offering was announced Sept. 20 and is available immediately.

In a similar move, P-Cube added protection against denial-of-service attacks to its Engage software in May.

“We are starting to add a whole bunch of security features to our devices,” Gadekar says. “We’d like to address worms and viruses in the future. There’s a whole set of security services that we can add that would let service providers better manage their networks.”

Gadekar says P-Cube will release an anti-virus capability early next year.

P-Cube says it has two ISP customers for the new anti-spam capability. One is a European DSL provider and the other is a Japanese cable provider.

“We see growing interest from U.S. operators,” Gadekar says. “We’re in discussion with a U.S. network provider who wants to market a managed WAN connection to the enterprise that would be free of denial-of-service attacks, free of peer-to-peer traffic and free of spam. It would be a more intelligent WAN connection.”

Cisco’s acquisition of P-Cube is expected to close at the end of September. With Cisco’s backing, P-Cube says it will expand beyond the ISP market to enterprise customers.

“The Cisco announcement has generated an amazing amount of interest by the enterprise market in the U.S.,” Gadekar says. “We still need to determine how our solution will be deployed and sold in the enterprise space. We may have to modify some features, but clearly the segment is of interest to us.”