Copperfasten nails spam with new security device


23 Jul 2004

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Galway-based technology company Copperfasten has developed a security appliance designed to protect against spam and is currently testing the system with several Irish organisations.

Following seven months in development, Copperfasten’s Mail Firewall Appliance (MFA) device is now commercially available and has been installed in a number of reference sites, including Irish-language TV station TG4, Storm Technology and some Institutes of Technology around the country.

Copperfasten was formed four years ago by former staffers at the Digital (now Hewlett-Packard) facility in Galway. The Mail Firewall Appliance was developed by members of the same team behind the AltaVista firewall.

A hardware-based device, the MFA scans all incoming email and has a facility to remove and quarantine unsolicited commercial email. It also has an anti-virus engine. All spam and anti-virus updates are fully automated and all administration is carried out via an easy-to-use web interface. “Spam is an inconvenience rather than a showstopper, so we wanted to develop a product that wasn’t more difficult to manage than the problem it was solving – ie spam,” explained Ronan Kavanagh, sales manager with Copperfasten.

The product assigns a ‘score’ to incoming emails based on a series of checks to determine whether it could be spam. It verifies whether the email is being sent to a real email address within the company; it also operates a real-time check against spam blacklists. Another feature analyses keywords as well as message headers, body and text to spot telltale signs of spam. According to Kavanagh, the device is designed to be easily configured by users, who can assign email addresses to white lists (permitted senders) or black lists (probable spammers).

In the coming months, Copperfasten will look to appoint an Irish distributor and sales partners for the MFA device once it has built up ‘proof-of-concept’ customer reference sites, Kavanagh said. Next year, the company intends to apply the same distribution model to sell the product in the UK market.

By Gordon Smith