• United States

A new approach to reducing spam

Sep 09, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalwareMessaging Apps

* Start-up takes fresh look at the spam problem

Canadian start-up MailChannels is developing an interesting method for reducing the amount of spam that enters a network.

Instead of using traditional filtering technology, the MailChannels approach – which the company calls Dynamic Domain-Based Aliasing – automatically assigns each contact from whom you receive e-mail an address that is unique to that sender (a channel). Each sender can be given a unique delivery policy, allowing customizable filtering and delivery options for each sender from whom you receive e-mail. The MailChannels approach modifies the delivery address at the domain level.

Unlike normal e-mail delivery in which you have only one e-mail address, the fundamental advantage of the MailChannels approach is that you can potentially have hundreds of e-mail addresses. If one address, or channel, becomes compromised and starts to receive spam, you can simply delete that channel and the system will automatically assign a new channel for the user that was using the compromised e-mail address.

In short, this approach is the equivalent of using disposable e-mail addresses with the twin advantages that these addresses use your own domain at their core and they are automatically assigned.

Further, the MailChannels approach has the potential of truly generating zero false positives and allowing only minimal amounts of spam into a network (only those spam messages that can enter via a compromised address until it is deleted).

MailChannels will deliver their capabilities in an appliance, the E100. The system will support Sender Policy Framework authentication, content filtering and integration with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol-enabled directories. MailChannels is currently seeking beta customers and plans to ship the appliance in January. Although the company has established preliminary pricing for the appliance, licensing and maintenance, these are subject to change and so are not available for publication at this time.

I think the MailChannels approach is quite interesting, although it remains to be seen whether e-mail administrators, particularly in large enterprises, will be willing to accept the paradigm shift that assigns potentially hundreds of unique e-mail addresses to each user. While MailChannels plans to make this as transparent as possible to users, I suspect that some level of education will be required to accept the approach.