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Kaspersky Labs launches new Linux Mail Security application

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September 5, 2012

Kaspersky Labs said earlier this morning that it has launched its new Kaspersky Linux Mail Security application, which can be easily integrated into a variety of Linux-based mail server configurations to better combat spam and block malicious attachments and viruses.

One distinct feature of spam-related malware is the hit and run nature of most attacks. When a wave of spam with new threats is first unleashed, approximately fifty percent of all intended recipients receive the message in the first ten minutes of the attack.

This simply means that security response times have to be just as fast if not faster. By linking Kaspersky Linux Mail Security with a Kaspersky Lab’s Urgent Detection System, Linux users receive regular updates to their anti-spam databases in minutes instead of hours or, worse, days.

The new protection technologies offered in Kaspersky Linux Mail Security include:

  • Exploit detection -– This uses Kaspersky Lab’s ZETA Shield technology to block complex threats and targeted attacks that exploit new and unknown vulnerabilities in common software.
  • Attachment filter and format recognizer -– That feature actually monitors and filters email attachments by their actual content, regardless of its declared file type or extension, and responds according to each company’s security policies, effectively blocking inappropriate email traffic (e.g., music files and videos) and potentially dangerous files (e.g., executable files).
  • Enforced anti-spam update service -– It connects customers more directly than ever to Kaspersky Lab’s security experts to produce very fast responses times to malicious spam outbreaks.
  • Reputation-based spam filtering -– This feature uses the global intelligence of Kaspersky Lab’s Urgent Detection System to categorize spam according to reputation, meaning variants of previously-identified spam attacks are automatically blocked without the need for analyst review.
  • New Anti Virus engine -– Provides better anti-malware detection with reduced impact on system resources. In addition, it now includes an updatable heuristic virus analyzer to better combat new and unknown threats.
  • Kaspersky Linux Mail Security works as an anti-spam, anti-malware solution in conjunction with widely adopted Linux-based mail servers, including Postfix, Qmail, Sendmail, Communigate Pro and, last but certainly not least, Exim.

    The new solution from Kaspersky Lab is also compatible with the AMaViS software bridge between a mail server and the anti-spam solution, which further expands compatibility with messaging platforms.

    Other key features include support for IPv6, rich traffic management rules and the potential for integration with Microsoft's Active Directory and Open LDAP.

    Overall, the automatic notification system and support for integration with third-party monitoring software keeps system admins well informed about the security status of their Linux mail system at all times.

    In other Linux news

    As a complete surprise, and a little over a week after it shocked its developer base with a new set of API rules, Twitter has surprised the Linux community one more time, but by becoming a new Silver-level member of The Linux Foundation, assuring open source people that its membership is absolutely fundamental to Twitter’s overall long term success.

    In fact, Twitter already had a keynote slot at the upcoming Linux Conference in San Diego, with its open source manager Chris Aniszczyk to take the stage and describe the company’s use of Linux and open source software.

    In explaining its sponsorship decision, Twitter spoke about how Linux’s capacity to be extensively tweaked made it important to the microblogging service, without somehow mentioning that the extent of tweaking allowable via Twitter’s API is progressively shrinking.

    Nevertheless, open source developers had taken exception to the API changes, which demand that third party applications be authenticated using O-Auth for each request to the API, and then place rate limits on third-party app requests.

    With LinuxCon kicking off Wednesday August 29, most commentators are willing to give Twitter the benefit of the doubt, and attribute the timing of the announcement to a conference-related media strategy rather than a soothe-the-developers crisis management strategy.

    The US $15,000 price tag on Twitter’s sponsorship won’t make the Linux Foundation any richer or Twitter any poorer, but if it successfully buys some developer goodwill, it’ll probably be money well invested.

    It will be interesting to see if other social sites similar to twitter will eventually join the Linux Foundation, either as a gesture of goodwill or simply to demonstrate that the need to support the Foundation is vital to the long term viability of the Linux community.

    In other Linux and open source news

    Many years ago, there once was a time when open source was all about harmony, happiness and the love of the Linux operating system.

    Software developers all working together for the common cause and the good benefits of open source and all it can bring to the enterprise community as to its many individuals.

    From that point on, the true essence of the open-source community has changed forever. Nobody can dispute that. But today, it's virtually impossible for a successful open-source project to truly get all the attention it really deserves without being consumed by venture capital dollars. Or is it?

    So the question that pops in people's mind-- is open source today still what it used to be? Well, it depends. When we read Brian Proffitt's article and excellent analysis of how "OpenStack is no Linux", different views and varying connotations can roam a mind, depending if the reader is from the open source community or not.

    Proffitt's focus is that "the destiny of OpenStack has been very heavily involved with commercial interests from the very start" - unlike Linux, which only attracted commercial interest later in its development.

    And here's another question for you-- is there a difference between a community-driven versus a corporate-sponsored open-source project? Aha... Do you see where we're going with this?

    However, the answer isn't immediately obvious to most. More analysis is needed. After all, even back in the early days of commercial open source, more than 50 percent of open-source developers were holding down jobs in IT, according to various surveys, with another 20 to 30 percent of participants being students who would go on to work in IT eventually.

    In other words, these were largely professional open source developers accomplishing very professional tasks. Still, there is a definite difference between a community-managed open-source project and a commercially-run project, primarily in terms of the kinds of contributions encouraged and accepted.

    If one company is perceived to 'steer' the code base (if you will), it becomes very difficult to attract other outside developers, open source or not.

    In turn, this has the effect of removing one of the primary benefits of open source, and the one that by some surveys appears to be rising in importance: the sheer elimination of lock-in, or at least the attempt at eliminating it.

    Whether it's a real issue or not, both open source and proprietary software vendor influence on the Linux community isn't going away-- not any time soon in fact.

    In the IT industry today, there's just simply too much money at stake trying to chase open-source projects these days. There was a brief honeymoon when Google, Twitter and other tech giants were able to release open-source code without commercial involvement, but this didn't last very long, with startups setting out to monetise projects such as Hadoop, Cassandra, and Storm.

    For myself, I don't think commercial participation or even ownership of an open-source project is necessarily a bad thing. Money complicates open source, but it can also help to fuel its growth.

    Just look at Acquia, the company set up by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert to offer support and complementary services to the popular open-source content management system. Acquia has managed to continually grow the Drupal community even while making money, to the point that Inc. Magazine recently named it the fastest-growing software vendor in the United States.

    Indeed, Acquia offers a potent lesson for any would-be open-source entrepreneur. The company constantly has to balance between its own commercial interests and those of the wider Drupal community, which likely will never pay it any money.

    From conversations we've had with both Buytaert and Acquia chief executive Tom Erickson, it is clear that the company defaults to doing what's right for the good of the open source and Linux community.

    But this is simply smart policy, as building a community is ultimately what determines the winner in open source in the first place, as Stephen O'Grady points out.

    And community is why we think MongoDB has a solid lead in NoSQL, and it's what we believe will ultimately determine one big winner in Hadoop. It's also why Twitter's Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to open source developers may ultimately prove its undoing, whatever the near-term financial security it brings.

    When looking for a winning open-source project or, really, any IT project, you don't ask the market analysts-- you look to the community itself. IT vendors will comprise a large and, for the most part, complete list of the developer base of any successful open-source project.

    And that's just the nature of modern-day open source. But how those developers impact or control a project differs greatly, and the best projects are those that are able to accept the bias of commercial interests, while at the same time not being overwhelmed by them in any way.

    In other Linux and open source news

    Here's a quick question for you: is GNOME still relevant in the Linux community? Benjamin Otte, a leading GNOME developer thinks that it might be.

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    Once a popular Linux desktop but now more often used as a foundation for other desktop interfaces, GNOME isn't as relevant as it used to be, says Otte.

    And we can't argue with him, really. We also believe that GNOME has lost its way when it decided to move from its excellent 2.x release series to a barely usable GNOME 3.x line, already three years ago.

    GNOME 2.x was extremely popular back then and most in the Linux community now hate GNOME 3.x. To be sure, Linus Torvalds himself would prefer to see GNOME forked and the current GNOME 3.x buried for ever.

    When GNOME first announced that it was going to take a very different direction with GNOME 3, many GNOME supporters doubted that path's wisdom. By October 2010, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company decided to create another Linux desktop, Unity, instead of using the GNOME 3.x shell.

    And while Ubuntu Unity does have it critics, GNOME 3.x has lost many, indeed probably most, of its users in the Ubuntu community. By July 2012, of all the major Linux distributors only Fedora remains a steadfast GNOME 3.x supporter, and even then, some are already starting to see some cracks.

    And there's a reason for that: Otte states that GNOME is a Red Hat project. "If you look at the Ohloh statistics again and if you ignore the three people working almost exclusively on Gstreamer-- an open-source multimedia framework, and the 2 working on a few translations, you get about ten Red Hat employees and five others.

    The second page looks like six Red Hat employees versus eight others with six translators-documenters. If Red Hat ever decided that GNOME wasn't worth investing in, the project would be dead in its tracks. You can see why Otte thinks this when he also observed that Linux core developers are leaving and that GNOME is way understaffed.

    What's more important though is that “GNOME has no goals. Otte first noticed that in 2005 when Jeff Waugh gave his 10×10 talk. Back then, the GNOME project had essentially achieved what it set out to do-- a working Free desktop environment. Since then however, nobody has ever managed to set new goals for the project.

    In fact, these days GNOME describes itself as a “community that makes great software”, which is as nondescript as you can get for software development.” Otte is right. That's not exactly inspiring.

    Otte is also painfully aware that Linux distros are dropping GNOME for other environments instead of working with GNOME. Previous supporters of GNOME are scaling back their involvement or have already dropped GNOME completely.

    Most important desktop applications have not made the switch to GNOME 3. From talking to them, it’s not a priority for most of them. The claimed target users for GNOME are leaving desktop computers behind for types of devices GNOME doesn’t work on.

    Worse, that even people inside the GNOME community feel like they're not even being given a chance to say anything about GNOME changes, never mind being heard, is also very irritating in and by istelf.

    Source: Kaspersky Labs.

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