- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

I'm beginning to lose count: in about 3 hours, at least 12 pieces of junk e-mail arrived. In a 24-hour period, the total was roughly 120 items; "roughly," because I keep trashing and then deleting the junk mail from my inbox.
Along with the inconvenience, there is the rather disgusting nature of some of the spam e-mail: as reporter Julia Scheeres of Wired News noted in a Sept. 30 article, promoters of pornographic Web sites are using rather direct e-mail to attract attention, with subject lines and content one cannot mention in a family newspaper. I don't want to see that stuff, even for a nanosecond before deleting it.
As noted a few weeks back, Apple Macintosh users running OS X version 10.2 have access to Apple's Mail application, which now does an excellent job of segregating junk e-mail, so you can delete it quickly. But if you don't use a Macintosh and the majority of computer users are running Microsoft's Windows operating system what do you do?
There are several software solutions for blocking spam, but these often require layering the spam-blocking software's own e-mail "client," or reader, on top of the e-mail program you already use. This duplicates effort, wastes time and is a bit burdensome if you are used to working with, say, Microsoft Outlook, Qualcomm's Eudora or some other e-mail program.
One of the newest spam blockers, a rather intelligent filter, in fact, was released a couple of weeks ago, and actually works directly with Outlook and other e-mail programs. It comes in a package you might not expect: the latest edition of Norton Internet Security, just out from Symantec.
A new feature called "Norton Spam Alert" detects spam messages and flags them as spam in the subject field. Users can then decide to delete the message or set a rule to handle the spam messages by automatically filing them in a specified folder. The program lets users continue to user their preferred POP3 e-mail client software, making it less of a hassle to manage e-mail effectively.
While spam blocking might well be worth the $69.95 retail price of the product, Norton Internet Security 2003 includes a personal "fire wall" that is good at blocking attempted intrusions on a computer, worms such as "Nimda" and "Code Red," and a plethora of viruses, thanks to the full version of Norton AntiVirus, or NAV, which is included in the suite.
The anti-virus features available in this year's NAV are evocative of the film "Minority Report" and its premise of precognition of a future crime. NAV removes Trojan horses and worms automatically, with the maker claiming the program can block worms in outgoing e-mail messages even before a virus definition is available, because the NAV program looks for "signature" code in such worms that give the rogue program away.
The new NAV program also detects and stops fast-moving script-based viruses without requiring a virus definition update. And, the new software automatically scans and cleans incoming attachments found in services such as Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Windows/MSN Messenger.
The fire wall component's inclusion of "Norton Intrusion Detection" is worth noting: It provides users with an additional layer of security by automatically blocking malicious attacks that spread quickly through Internet traffic, something a fire wall alone could not block. Another new feature, "Norton Privacy Control," lets you set a protection level to block confidential data such as passwords or credit-card numbers from surfacing in outgoing e-mail messages and attachments as well as Instant Messaging such as AOL's IM.
E-mail [email protected] or visit his Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk to him live on Fridays from 5-6 p.m. EST on www.adrenalineradio.com.


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