PureMessage Deals Blow to New Spamming Technique

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – January 28, 2003 – ActiveState Corp., the leader in enterprise email filtering software, has released new PureMessage technology to reliably catch a new and dangerous form of spam — image spam. Increasing in frequency by over 25% since November, image spam isn't only a nuisance, it is a threat to every email box's security. Using PureMessage, organizations are assured protection against productivity loss, network downtime and vulnerability of informational assets associated with unsolicited or malicious email.

Image spam is an unsolicited commercial email that presents its message to individuals through visual images. This is accomplished by creating links within the body of the email message to images located on the Internet. When an individual previews or opens an image spam message, behind the scenes, the image is captured from the Internet and presented in the email body. Because the spam message is contained almost entirely within an image, traditional spam filtering techniques relying on email text analysis are ineffective. Image spam is dangerous because the messages include unique identifiers within the image links that are able to track when a recipient has opened or previewed an image spam message. When the image is viewed, the spammer knows the email address is valid, guaranteeing future spam messages from the spamming community as the address is resold.

"Image spam and recipient tracking is opening up a new era for spam proliferation," said Maurene Caplan Grey, Research Director, Gartner Inc. "Spammers continue to find new ways to send uninvited messages; therefore, it is critical that enterprises seriously focus on email management."

Statistics derived from ActiveState's broad network of "spam trap" email accounts and Fortune 500 customers indicate that image spam now accounts for 25% of all spam entering large organizations. ActiveState PureMessage provides a solution to the complex problem of spam, including the recent evolution of image spam. PureMessage customers today identify more than 95% of the spam targeting their organization, virtually solving the spam problem. With regular software updates included, PureMessage customers are assured protection from image spam and all other evolving tactics of spammers.

"Image spam represents a new level of sophistication that the spamming community is reaching," said Chris Kraft, director of product management, ActiveState. "While we know that our job is never done as spamming tactics will continue to evolve, we are pleased to take note of the recent progress in filtering technologies. With spam as flies, our virtual flyswatter just doubled in size."

The new PureMessage technology is available immediately and is included with the anti-spam software subscription for current customers. All ActiveState PureMessage customers have received this update and have effective defenses against image spam. Additional information is at: www.ActiveState.com.

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