Developers of any sort are often encouraged to think "outside the box." As NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin explains in the following report, one Internet security company is thinking outside the box by thinking inside a box.
Could a single box hooked into your computer solve many of your online headaches? The makers of the Spam Cube hope so. It’s hardware for consumers that filters not only junk email, but also viruses and so-called "phishing" attacks.
“This is the first anti-spam hardware to use artificial intelligence inside an embedded chip. This is patented technology proprietary to spam cube,” says David Soares of the Spam Cube. “It interprets trends and new variations of the spam. As far as anti-virus and anti-phish are concerned, we use Norton and McAfee signatures to update the Spam Cube on a continual basis. The Spam Cube is connected between the router and the cable modem or between the computer and the cable modem. You activate the product, it registers in our database, and then we continually update the product as new spam signatures and new virus signatures are released.”
The device works with any computer or operating system, broadband only, not dialup. It can filter any email account that you can check through a pop3 protocol client. In English, that means a program like Microsoft's Outlook Express that checks your corporate, or web-based email accounts, all in one place on your desktop. It does not work yet on accounts you check through the web.
As to why you'd want an extra piece of hardware on your desk doing something that software can, having this thing do the work puts less of a strain on your computer's resources, so it won't slow it down as much.
The few pre-productions units seems to work pretty well, though it's tough to tell how well they'll work once they're out in the marketplace, once spammers recognize the Spam Cube and try to route their spam around it.
“If this is going to capture information, capture mail before it gets to your desktop, it's going to have to look at that and say it's from a bad guy, it's clearly spam related, and I've been updated recently so I can recognize that,” says Lance Ulanoff of PCMag.com
. “That's the part we don't know about, how up-to-date will this remain and how well will it work, of course.”
And though the device can protect up to four computers at once, business travelers are probably not going to want to pack this thing in their luggage, though developers say a more portable unit is in the works.
When it becomes widely available this summer, the Spam Cube will cost $150, no additional charges for spam filtering. Anti-virus and anti-phishing will cost an additional $52 a year.
- Adam Balkin