Cobion’s software has been renamed Proventia Mail Filter and Proventia Web Filter and is available now. ISS will add the software to its other Proventia perimeter security appliances, as well as release standalone Cobion appliances, in the second quarter.
The software has a couple of interesting features. Unlike most of its competitors, Cobion built its database of categorized URLs using automated web crawlers and algorithms that, ISS says, can determine the context of keywords found on pages it crawls.
The software can differentiate between sites talking about ‘breasts’ in inappropriate ways, and talking about ‘breasts’ in a medical context such as ‘breast cancer’, for example, said ISS VP of security solutions Pete Privateer.
Because it’s automated, the Cobion database is 20 million domains and 2.6 billion pages strong, ISS claims. By contrast, semi-automated databases from competitors tend to index less than 10 million domains.
A feature Privateer said is unique to ISS is the ability to use the Web Filter database as a component of the Mail Filter’s spam recognition algorithms. A URL in an email that links to a site categorized as erotica would usually be spam, for example.
Brightmail Inc, a major anti-spam service and software provider, has a similar feature in its offerings, but its database is created from URLs found in emails previously identified as spam, and is likely smaller.
A feature that does appear to be unique to ISS’s new products is the ability to identify text from an image. Spammers sometimes include large images, in order to evade text-oriented spam filters, but Privateer said that Mail Filter can recognize this.
In fact, ISS thinks the image search technology brought in from Cobion is very powerful. It has apparently not been commercialized in other ways, and Privateer hinted that ISS may decide to exploit this technology in other ways in future.