Sobig Outspams Spam

Remember spam? You know, the unsolicited commercial e-mail that used to seem like it was flooding your Inbox? That was back before the Sobig.F worm came along and outspammed spam.

Take my Inbox. No really, take it please! OK, that was bad. But over the last week, it has accumulated thousands of copies of the Sobig.F message. It's the first time in years that I can remember getting more copies of a virus message than spam messages. While Sobig.F is not specifically spam, it points up the need for more anti-spam software in the enterprise in two important ways.

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One is that spam filters would help reduce the volume of Sobig.F-style traffic that gets through to Inboxes. Sobig.F and other viruses and worms that use similar social engineering tricks to lure users into opening their malicious attachments are exactly the kinds of messages that effective spam filtering software is supposed to catch -- potentially giving enterprises a break in the critical hours before the anti-virus firms have responded with a virus signature.

My second reason is a little more philosophical, so bear with me. Sobig.F has proven to be another source of junk messages that reduces the signal-to-noise ratio of an important communications medium. In my case, during the last week, it's meant that the ping of Outlook no longer signals a potential important new message from a colleague or a requested update from some news source. Rather, it most likely means two to three more Sobig.F messages have arrived. This doesn't have anything directly to do with spam, but indirectly, it raises the importance of reclaiming e-mail for actual corporate communication.

This special report contains several things to help you make sense of anti-spam scene. One is an article illustrating how some of the industry observers are seeing a convergence coming from anti-virus, anti-spam and other messaging tools vendors that will help protect users against blended threats. The next article is an overview of the anti-spam offerings. Bookmark that one if you're in the market for anti-spam software. It will be updated and expanded in the future. And finally, there's an overview of some of the anti-spam investments Microsoft has made in Exchange Server 2003. -- Scott Bekker, Editor, ENTmag.com.

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