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Spamming spammers?
IBM to offer service to bounce unwanted e-mail back to the computers that sent them.
March 22, 2005: 12:22 PM EST
Will IBM's new anti-spam service be an improvement over existing technology?
  Too early to say

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - IBM unveiled a service Tuesday that sends unwanted e-mails back to the spammers who sent them.

The new IBM (Research) service, known as FairUCE, essentially uses a giant database to identify computers that are sending spam. E-mails coming from a computer on the spam database are sent directly back to the computer, not just the e-mail account, that sent them.

"Spam has become a high priority security issue for businesses today," Stuart McIrvine, IBM's director of corporate security strategy, said in a prepared statement.

"By creating a multi-layered defense that proactively repels spam at its source, companies can get ahead of spammers and malicious hackers who are always looking for new ways of penetrating IT systems through e-mail."

IBM said the new solution effectively minimizes the growing threats of "phishing and spoofing -- tactics used to trick people into disclosing information that can lead to identity theft."

The company said its FairUCE spam technology will allow customers to identify incoming spam before it gums up their systems. Also, IBM said its anti-spam technology will alleviate the need for content filtering, which heavily taxes IT systems, siphoning off bandwidth otherwise used for business purposes.

IBM has previously offered anti-spam filter technology, but this is the first time the company has developed technology to "send spam back to the spammer," according to IBM spokeswoman Kelli Gail. IBM is not concerned about liability, even in cases where innocent senders might be misidentified as spammers, because all the technology does is bounce back the e-mails, said Gail.

IBM said in a separate report that, in February, 76 percent of all e-mails were spam, down 7 percent from the January level. Also, 2 percent of all e-mails carried a virus or some other "malicious content," according to the report.

IBM stock edged higher in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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