MailMender: Putting 1,000+ Vi@gra spams straight

While spam may no longer be on the menu of any self-respecting restaurant, it is taking a free ride on the coat tails of millions of legitimate emails every day.

One of the main groups of offenders is the purveyor of that substance that straightens you right out – not fine coffee but that other drug, Viagra. Now spam filter companies are constantly touting their wares from the rooftops, but it seems that lots of them can do one or two things really successfully, but not one of them can do everything successfully.

MailMender – a new spam filter on the block from Savannah Software, has just received the top award from, a spam filter review site. MailMender introduces a clever new technology that automatically finds all variations of words commonly used by spammers, like our friend Viagra, and foils all attempts by spammers to get past it.

The problem is, over the years, spammers have been aware that their messages were being killed by these content filters and began resorting to ever more desperate tricks to try to fool the content filters using spellings like “Vi@gra”, “Mort.gage”, or “L|0|a|n|$”. In fact, a lot of spam messages now are virtually illegible because of their attempts to fool content-based filters, but MailMender can not only see through these methods, but detect that they are being employed in the first place. tested MailMender and found that it fended off 1,009 variations of the word that most frequents our in box, “Viagra”. It was sent every possible permutation and strange combination ranging from “V1@gra” to “V|l|a|q|r@” in an attempt to get it past the filter, but was blocked on each occasion.

MailMender is a content-based filter that works as a proxy, meaning that it filters your e-mail behind the scenes before it reaches your inbox. Its “intelligent search” functionality detects and beats the spammer’s attempts at “obfuscating” words and can automatically perform challenge/response filtering on subject e-mails, requiring that the user confirm any suspect messages.