Lotus Looks to Deep-Six Spam With Domino Upgrade

But users could take performance hit

IBM's Lotus Software Group unit last week said that the next version of its Notes/ Domino e-mail and collaboration software will include server-side tools designed to stop spam messages before they hit end-user mailboxes.

Ed Brill, an IBM software operations manager, said Domino 6 will include a set of antispam tools, plus the ability to automatically block e-mail from suspect IP addresses, such as those placed on the Realtime Blackhole List maintained by Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC (MAPS) in Redwood City, Calif.

MAPS, a not-for-profit group run primarily by volunteers, vets complaints about unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail. Companies and Internet service providers can subscribe to MAPS's list and set blocks so their servers won't accept e-mail messages coming from the specified IP addresses.

Users can set filters in the R5 version of Lotus Notes client software so that an e-mail that includes the phrase "make money fast," for example, will be routed to a folder designated for spam. Brill said Domino 6 will be able to block messages at corporate e-mail gateways, reducing the amount of spam traffic that reaches networks, servers and PCs.

The Domino upgrade, which is due out in September along with Notes 6, will also include scripts that e-mail administrators can use to set message-filtering rules.

But there's a possible trade-off. Brill acknowledged that having the filters on the server side might make it take longer for legitimate e-mail messages to pass through routers and get to in-boxes. But he didn't specify how much of a performance hit users might experience.

A spokesman for Microsoft Corp., Lotus' main rival in the messaging software market, said Microsoft mostly relies on third-party vendors that offer filtering products for Exchange users.

And even Lotus will continue to lean on partners for some of the more sophisticated spam-filtering technology after Domino 6 ships, Brill said.

Matt Cain, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said any improvement in antispam capabilities is a good thing for users. But the antispam technology being added to Domino "is not state-of-the-art," he said.

Compared with some of the specialized, third-party antispam software now available, Cain added, what Lotus plans "is in the same league, but it won't win on feature function." For example, other tools can identify spam signatures and allow users to stop a blast of e-mail messages sent from an IP address that hasn't already been blocked, he said.

1by1.gif

Just Go Away

Domino 6 will include the following antispam capabilities:

blue_square.gif
System rules that let IT administrators filter all incoming mail messages based on their content

blue_square.gif
Preconfigured filtering scripts to which other suspect words and phrases can be added

blue_square.gif
The ability to block messages from IP addresses that belong to known spammers

blue_square.gif
Improved support for using Domino's directory to stop spam from being routed throughout a company

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon