The Probe Network is crucial to Symantec's ongoing effort to fight spam. As spammers find new ways to bypass filters, the Symantec Probe Network helps Symantec stay one step ahead by monitoring spamming methods through the use of probe accounts.
The Probe Network is effective for the following reasons:
Drives early detection of spam attacks
Probe accounts are the first step in the real-time detection and analysis of spam. The structure of the Probe Network essentially provides Symantec Security Response with a stream of real-time spam being disseminated over the Internet. This virtual net of numerous accounts spread all over the Internet makes it easy for Symantec to verify that a given message was sent using bulk methods.
Speeds the development of accurate filters
A key marketplace differentiator for Symantec Brightmail Gateway is the near perfect accuracy rate of its spam filtering technology. The antispam capability is largely due to core filters that are based on actual spam. The probe network also provides key data that is used to develop Symantec's more predictive filters, such as heuristics. What makes all this possible is the volume, quality, and timeliness of data that flows in real time from the probe network to Symantec Security Response.
Aids ongoing trend research
Spammers are constantly changing their tactics and dissemination methods to evade filtering software. Symantec's Customer Response and AntiSpam Systems teams mine the data from the probe network to advance Symantec's AntiSpam technology. Examples include staying abreast of the latest spam trends, evaluating the spam-catching differences between product versions and monitoring detection rates in different languages.