The University of Southampton

New way to assassinate spam

Published: 
30 April 2010
Illustration

As MailScanner, the world’s most widely-used email security and anti-spam system prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary on 1 May, its developer has just launched ScamNailer, a programme designed purely to spot phishing attacks.

Julian Field, Systems Administrator at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science first developed MailScanner back in 2000 and since then it has been used in 226 countries and has become a world-leading email protection system; supporting more virus scanning engines than any other with over 1.3 million downloads.

Now, backed by one of the largest corporations on the Internet, Julian has launched ScamNailer.

The programme, which can be downloaded free, tackles spear phishing, a technique used by spammers and scammers to try to get an individual’s username and password, so that they can then send out millions of spam messages from their email address.

ScamNailer has compiled two lists of addresses which are commonly used in phishing attacks and from these it generates a set of SpamAssassin rules that detect the presence of these addresses, which can be used in MailScanner or SpamAssassin to stop the spear-phishing attacks completely. "The advantage that ScamNailer has over any similar programmes is that its backer has provided access to a list of phishing email addresses and websites much larger than any other available, so when people download the package, they can block these addresses from their own site," said Julian.

ScamNailer, which can be downloaded free, is attracting an average of three million downloads a month.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453

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