[ISN] IBM to offer free e-mail protection software

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Dec 15 1998 - 16:57:32 PST

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    IBM tightens Net security
    In bid to trump Sendmail, Big Blue offers free e-mail protection software
    and code
    December 14, 1998: 11:20 a.m. ET
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM Corp. has announced software it says will protect
    electronic mail systems against existing vulnerabilities in an effort to
    boost confidence that the Internet is a safe place to do business. 
    Called Secure Mailer, IBM (IBM)  hopes the program will replace the
    existing Sendmail delivery software that currently processes more than
    three-quarters of Internet correspondence. 
    "This will make IBM's and everyone's Internet activities more secure,"
    promised Charles Palmer, IBM's network security research manager. 
    Palmer said the current software used in most e-mail programs, developed
    nearly 20 years ago, suffers from "some nasty bugs" that have been known
    to delete files, send out password files and other "dumb things" that
    hackers can exploit to compromise security. 
    In order to entice the software world to scrap this essentially free
    program, IBM not only plans to give away its own version of the product,
    but is publishing the underlying source code too. This allows programmers
    to tinker with the e-mail software's basic functions and develop
    This is a departure, but a necessary one for IBM. Sendmail Inc., the
    privately held distributor of the current e-mail program, already freely
    publishes its own programming code. 
    IBM stands to benefit indirectly from solving security issues due to its
    large and rapidly growing investment in overall electronic commerce. The
    computer maker traditionally has guarded its proprietary software
    creations and is seen as a jealous defender of its patents. 
    Chris King, analyst with industry researchers Meta Group, said he didn't
    see IBM giving up on its commercial goals by giving away some of its
    software secrets. "IBM sees this as an indirect revenue generator," he
    IBM said it is publishing the e-mail software code as a test run for
    developing "open source" software in general. The term refers to the
    source code that underlies any software program.  In this case, IBM has
    agreed to openly publish what it has traditionally considered a trade
    "It's clear we are kind of taking baby steps here and feeling it out," an
    IBM spokeswoman said. "The feeling is this (is) definitely an area to
    IBM's move follows such other leading software makers as Netscape
    Communications Corp. (NSCP) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW), which in the
    past year have signed up for what is known in the industry as the open
    source software movement with Netscape's browser and Sun's Java program. 
    Open source software has become popular with a growing number of
    programmers who see it as an alternative to the perceived stranglehold by
    Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)on new innovations through its dominant Windows
    operating system. 
    The e-mail software is available on IBM's alphaWorks Web site. 
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