AOL buys Mailblocks in spam-fighting effort

America Online Inc. (AOL) has snapped up Web-based e-mail company Mailblocks Inc. in an effort to bolster its own e-mail services with greater antispam protection, mail management, and interface improvements, it said Wednesday. AOL did not specify the terms of the deal but said that the buy of privately held Mailblocks was aimed at gaining its challenge/response technology for fighting spam and authenticating legitimate e-mail senders.

Mailblocks' technology works by "whitelisting," or approving, everyone in a user's address book as a legitimate e-mail sender, and challenging any unknown senders. When a user receives an e-mail from an unknown sender, the service holds the mail and sends back an automatically generated message, asking the sender to type in the seven-digit code that they see on the screen. Once the sender enters the code, the message is delivered to the recipient and that sender will not be challenged again. The technology aims to defeat mass-mailer spam and worms generated by computers.

News source: InfoWorld

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