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Home » Hacking News » McAfee to Sell Spam-Fighting Software for Hotmail Users

McAfee to Sell Spam-Fighting Software for Hotmail Users

by Nikola Strahija on September 4th, 2002 Users of Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail program are getting a new weapon in their fight against unsolicited commercial e-mail, commonly known as spam. Corp. , a Sunnyvale, Calif., antivirus-software maker, plans to sell a version of its SpamKiller program for Hotmail users starting Wednesday.

The program blocks e-mails by using preset lists and filters, which can be modified by users for better protection against spam. Hotmail, with 110 million users, is one of the world's biggest e-mail providers, but up to 80% of the two billion messages it receives every day are spam. Until now, programs such as SpamKiller haven't been available for users of Web-based e-mail services. As a result, the best way to fight spam has been to set up a series of filters and carefully monitor what's being delivered to a special "junk mail" folder.

McAfee President and Chief Executive Srivats Sampath said during a recent vacation the software reduced the number of junk e-mail messages in his Hotmail inbox to three from 100.

Representatives for Microsoft's Hotmail couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Starting Wednesday, Hotmail account holders can use SpamKiller. Spam is " quarantined" out of the users' inbox so it doesn't count against account-space restrictions. (Hotmail's basic service is free, but more storage is $19.95 a year.) SpamKiller also allows users to send a bounce-back message to spammers, which implies the e-mail isn't a valid one -- a measure that could prevent more spam in the future.

For $39.95, users can purchase the license for SpamKiller and enable it within minutes, said McAfee. A 30-day trial is also available at no cost.

The company noted spam is becoming an increasing threat because of the rising tide of identity theft. "A spammer sends millions of messages, hoping a few will fall for it," said Mr. Sampath. He added spammers are getting trickier, sending messages that look like they have come from a legitimate source and prompting users to send important private information, such as Social Security numbers or credit-card data.

"It's just going to get worse," predicted Mr. Sampath. "People need to get smart and learn how to change their behavior."

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