Network Associates started the year by putting spam in the crosshairs. The company last week announced the acquisition of Deersoft, a maker of antispam software, for an undisclosed sum.Network Associates\u00a0started the year by putting spam in the crosshairs. The company last week announced the acquisition of\u00a0Deersoft, a maker of antispam software, for an undisclosed sum.Deersoft makes SpamAssassin Pro and SpamAssassin Enterprise. The company's software uses content rules and heuristic scans to analyze incoming e-mail and identify spam. Once identified, messages can be rejected or saved for review.Network Associates says it intends to fold the SpamAssassin technology into its McAfee product line, wooing corporate customers by providing antispam technology at the network gateway, on e-mail servers and on the desktop."Deersoft was attractive to us for the simple reason that SpamAssassin has the most sophisticated rules-based approach on market and the lowest false positive rates of the products we tested," says Zoe Lowther, senior solutions marketing manager at the McAfee Security division.Deersoft's technology provided Network Associates with more sophisticated rules-based scanning than what was available from its competitors or in McAfee's existing product, McAfee SpamKiller, Lowther says.Working in a similar fashion to antivirus detection technology, SpamAssassin analyzes the attributes of incoming e-mail to spot spam, rather than simply matching the message source against a blacklist of known spammers.The Deersoft technology provides multiplatform support, while SpamKiller works only in the Microsoft Windows environment, Network Associates says.The first McAfee-Deersoft fusion will be McAfee's SpamKiller Enterprise, client-based desktop software aimed at the enterprise that will be built on the foundation of Deersoft's SpamAssassin Pro product. Those additions will be unveiled in the second quarter this year.Network Associates will release a software update to the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator policy manager in the second quarter that will let ePO manage SpamKiller Enterprise across corporations, Lowther says.Finally, Deersoft's technology will be rolled into McAfee's WebShield and GroupShield products, providing antispam protection for Internet gateways and e-mail servers later this year.SpamAssassin began as open source software developed by Justin Mason, a software programmer in Ireland who was looking for a way to combat spam plaguing his e-mail system, according to Deersoft's Web site.Roberts is a correspondent with the IDG News Service's Boston bureau.