Personalize Protection Against Unwanted Email with Symantec Messaging Gateway

We’ve been holding off on the news, but as many of you have realized, Symantec Messaging Gateway 9.5 (formerly Symantec Brightmail Gateway) is now available – in fact, over 1,800 customers have already upgraded to the new release. We mentioned many of the new features as part of our earlier beta announcement – thank you to everyone who participated! We had 150 beta participants registered. 

Many of our beta participants and early adopters of the new release have already shared great reviews about the new dispositions feature, a new method of personalizing your defenses against unwanted email by setting up policies against three new categories of email. This new feature allows Symantec to aggressively target email messages that some email users would like us to block, but that others consider legitimate. At Symantec, we have always valued accuracy (low false positives!) at least as much as effectiveness. By generating filters on these types of messages, and letting mail administrators opt in or out of this as preferred, some users can be more aggressive about blocking emails without increasing false positives for other users. Symantec’s backend tools and analysts have now been deployed to write new rules and heuristics for these new dispositions, in addition to our traditional spam rules.

New dispositions that are available in Symantec Messaging Gateway 9.5 product include:

  • Newsletters
  • Marketing Mail
  • Emails with Suspicious URLs

Ok – but didn’t the email end users sign up for the newsletters in the first place? Maybe they did, or maybe they gave permission for their information to be shared with third parties. Either way, these emails aren’t spam email, but they are considered unwanted by the user anyway!

The newsletter rule set contains rules that target newsletters that may be considered legitimate by some parties, but some users don’t want to receive anymore. The newsletters targeted by these filters may contain valid opt out processes and follow best practices; however for a certain subset of customers there is a desire to have these messages blocked by content filtering rather than working through unsubscribe processes which may or may not be functional.

Email end users don’t want to receive marketing emails either? The marketing rule set aggressively targets mailings from senders that may be legitimate to a certain extent but practice mailing techniques that may be opaque to the end user and may not provide functional opt out policies.

The suspicious URLs filter targets emails with problem URLs comprising of freeweb domains or URL shorteners that are generally being abused by spammers. In many cases Symantec tackles these with standard spam filters; however there are edge cases where new links may emerge before filters have been created or a customer may just not want to accept any mail containing links from these services at all.

Symantec Messaging Gateway 9.5 provides better protection and allows customers to personalize their definition of unwanted email. Keep us posted on how the upgrades go!

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