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Barracuda Networks Unveils Third-Generation of Its Sophisticated Image Spam Defense Technologies.

New Multi-Pass Optical Character Recognition Engine Combined with Automated Fingerprint Generation Extends Existing Image Spam Protection in the Barracuda Spam Firewall

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Barracuda Networks, Inc., the leading provider of application security appliances, today announced the availability of its third generation of image spam defense enhancements to the Barracuda Spam Firewall. This release provides even greater protection against the evolving complexity of image spam, rendering these new forms of spam ineffective. The new email security techniques dive deeper into image spam messages and automate spam fingerprint analysis to further the effectiveness of image spam filtering that protects more than 40,000 Barracuda Networks customers worldwide.

"While much of the attention last year was on the growth in volume of image spam, we are noticing an increase in the sophistication of image spam techniques," said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management for Barracuda Networks. "Since last July when we originally announced both our image spam fingerprinting and optical character recognition (OCR) defenses, we have continued to enhance our defense layers to stay ahead of the latest trends."

New Multi-Pass Optical Character Recognition Engine

Image spam generally embeds text inside of images with the intent of hiding content from the text rules processing layers of spam filters. To combat these forms of image spam, the Barracuda Spam Firewall has been shipping an optical character recognition (OCR) engine since July 2006.

In early attempts to foil OCR engines, senders of image spam attempted to use animated GIF files to spread content across multiple frames. In addition, they attempted to obfuscate text inside their images by corrupting the images with lines, speckles and other image artifacts. To neutralize these techniques, Barracuda Networks second-generation OCR engines incorporated both animated GIF analysis and fuzzy logic to stifle text obfuscation techniques.

With the third generation of image spam defense, Barracuda Networks has incorporated a new multi-pass OCR engine. This new multi-pass engine performs deeper analysis by performing image pre-processing operations to normalize the images prior to final optical character recognition passes. This additional processing is particularly effective against attempts to hide text by varying color and contrast combinations of text and backgrounds. With these new techniques, Barracuda Networks has maintained a 95 percent accuracy rate in identifying and blocking image spam.

Automated Fingerprint Generation

In addition to adding processing capabilities inside the Barracuda Spam Firewall, Barracuda Networks has also significantly enhanced the image spam defense capabilities in its backend systems at Barracuda Central, an advanced technology operations center where engineers continually monitor the Internet for trends in spam and virus attacks, and develop strategies to mitigate those threats.

Barracuda Central collects image spam samples from its honeypot systems and from more than 40,000 customer systems throughout the world. Once collected, Barracuda Central processes the identified spam images through the multi-pass OCR engine, generates fingerprints for these images and packages them for automatic delivery to Barracuda Spam Firewalls through hourly Energize Updates. By comparing fingerprints of images in subsequent emails against a database of known spam images, the Barracuda Spam Firewall can efficiently and intelligently block image spam analyzed at Barracuda Central.

By combining the tremendous image processing power at Barracuda Central with the efficient handling of fingerprints in the Fingerprint Analysis layer of the Barracuda Spam Firewall, customers benefit from latest image processing techniques while minimizing the processing requirements on their Barracuda Spam Firewalls.

Pricing and Availability

The third-generation image spam defense capabilities are immediately available to all Barracuda Spam Firewall customers running firmware release 3.4.10 or later. All Barracuda Spam Firewall customers with current Energize Updates subscriptions may upgrade to the latest firmware release at no additional charge. For new customers, Barracuda Spam Firewall pricing varies by model and starts at $1,499 in the U.S. with no per user licensing fees. International pricing varies by region.

About the Barracuda Spam Firewall

The Barracuda Spam Firewall is available in six models and supports from 1,000 to 30,000 active users with no per user licensing fees. The Barracuda Spam Firewall can be installed in front of the email server in typically less than five minutes and is automatically updated hourly to block new forms of spam and viruses. Its architecture leverages with 12 defense layers: denial of service and security protection, rate control, IP analysis, sender authentication, recipient verification, virus protection, policy (user-specified rules), Fingerprint Analysis, Intent Analysis, Image Analysis, Bayesian Analysis, and a Spam Rules Scoring engine. In addition, the entire Barracuda Spam Firewall line features simultaneous inbound and outbound email filtering with the inclusion of sophisticated outbound email filtering techniques, such as rate controls, domain restrictions, user authentication (SASL), keyword and attachment blocking, dual layer virus blocking, and remote user support for outbound email filtering. The Barracuda Spam Firewall's layered approach minimizes the processing of each email, which yields the performance required to process millions of messages per day. Unlike software solutions, the Barracuda Spam Firewall reduces the load placed on the email server by off-loading both spam and virus filtering. Barracuda Networks also offers the Energize Update subscription service to automatically update the Barracuda Spam Firewall with the latest spam rules and virus definitions.

About Barracuda Networks, Inc.

Barracuda Networks is the leading provider of application security appliances for comprehensive email, Internet and IM protection. Its products protect over 40,000 customers around the world, including Adaptec, Caltrans, CBS, Georgia Institute of Technology, IBM, NASA, Pizza Hut, Union Pacific Railroad Company, and the U.S. Treasury Department. The Barracuda Spam Firewall and Barracuda Spam Firewall - Outbound protect organizations against spam, viruses, and violations to e-mail security policy. The Barracuda Web Filter offers comprehensive content filtering and complete network protection against spyware, malware and viruses. The Barracuda IM Firewall is the only all in one gateway solution for IM traffic management and security. The Barracuda Load Balancer offers easy to configure, secure and comprehensive IP network traffic management across multiple servers. Barracuda Networks is a privately held company with headquarters in Mountain View, California. Barracuda Networks has offices in eight international locations and distributors in over 80 countries. More information is available at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 22, 2007
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