NMCI takes on enterprisewide spam

The Navy is counting on a little electronic elbow grease to clean up its enterprise portal.

Officials this month began installing anti-spam software over the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet using products from IronPort Systems Inc. of San Bruno, Calif., and Symantec Corp.'s Brightmail Anti-Spam software system.

Spam removal was not part of the initial NMCI contract awarded to EDS Corp. in October 2000, but Navy officials added it earlier this year.

'In 1999, when the NMCI RFP was issued, spam was largely unheard of. Over the last few years, it has become a major nuisance for all computer users and network operators,' said a Navy official in the Direct Reporting Program Management Office for NMCI, who requested anonymity.

The official said typical spam e-mail runs the gamut from commercial solicitations and fraudulent schemes to pornography and computer viruses, similar to the spam that plague all PC users.

The Navy has not collected any statistics on the amount of spam e-mail crossing NMCI daily because it has just turned on the spam-blocking software earlier this month, the official added.

Sorting spam

Mike Koehler, EDS enterprise client executive for NMCI, said users will continue to have access to any message labeled as spam via a daily digest that provides temporary links to quarantined e-mail.

The messages will be tagged according to content filters in a user's inbox, Koehler said.
In addition to spam detection and removal, Koehler said the software features e-mail processing and content filtering.

Still, some NMCI users say the e-mail filtering has had some hiccups. Several say the software is snagging legitimate work messages along with the spam.

'I have already begun to see e-mail, such as Naval messages, being tagged as spam with subject lines being changed to reflect the offending word(s),' said one NMCI user who declined to be named.

The DRPM official said the software must go through about three months of tuning to filter appropriate spam messages.

'Individual users can set their e-mail clients to automatically distribute tagged e-mail to particular folders,' the official said. 'Setting the tag dictionaries involves some trial and error. Some words have offensive and nonoffensive contexts.'

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