One in 3 emails sent to financial services firms is spam, and one in 133 contains a virus
- Sallie Mae, Bank of New York, Commerzbank AG and Daiwa Securities America among the hundreds of financial firms using MessageLabs’ industry leading managed services

London, November 20, 2003. Financial services firms have proven to be the widest adopters of managed email security services, according to MessageLabs, which now counts the financial sector as its leading customer base vertical.

Sallie Mae, Bank of New York, Commerzbank AG and Daiwa Securities America are among the 400 financial firms using MessageLabs’ services for their unparalleled protection against viruses, spam and other unwanted content and their ability to help companies comply with regulations imposed by the London Stock Exchange and FSA in the UK, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD, and federal laws such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act in the States.

By outsourcing email security to MessageLabs, companies can operate and compete knowing that they are proactively protected from increasing numbers of known and unknown threats. In October alone, 1 in every 132 emails to financial services firms in the UK contained a virus and 1 in every 4 emails was spam. Globally, the average numbers were 1 in every 126 emails contained a virus; 1 in every 2.4 emails was spam.

"Institutional and retail financial firms take every precaution to protect their infrastructures, human assets and customers from viruses that can corrupt customer records and impact mission critical systems. With mandated electronic communication storage and auditing requirements, these companies are also looking for ways to eliminate spam—which now accounts for more than 50% of email traffic—and reap the cost savings gained by reducing spam-related bandwidth, storage and processing costs," said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer at MessageLabs.

"Companies in the financial arena receive high quantities of email, much of which is unsolicited and often malicious. Email is a key part of our daily business and we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure it doesn’t compromise our business operations in any way," said Darlane Hoffman, senior vice-president of the Bank of New York. "The Bank of New York is fully committed to security and protecting our assets and the assets of our customers."

Daiwa Securities America was one of the first U.S. securities firms to sign on with MessageLabs. Eighteen months ago, Stephen McCabe, senior VP and co-CIO of Daiwa Securities America, saw that the increase in spam would aggravate the compliance burden at Wall Street firms, which were already dealing with stricter regulations that require them to audit and archive emails. By signing up for MessageLabs’ anti-spam service, he’s been able to eliminate 43% of the 7,000 inbound emails Daiwa receives each day, which are spam. "That's a huge volume of messages IT no longer needs to audit and archive. Now we don't even think about spam anymore," McCabe said.

MessageLabs' proprietary, patented technology has helped it meet the needs of financial institutions and become the leading provider of managed email security services in just a few short years.

That technology, known as Skeptic™, uses artificial intelligence to proactively analyse email DNA for the purposes of identifying and intercepting unsolicited or virus-bearing messages. Skeptic is built into the company’s highly available and redundant global infrastructure, which features a worldwide network of control towers that process tens of millions of messages a day. MessageLabs’ network serves as companies’ first line of defence by intercepting spam, virus-carrying and pornographic emails at the Internet level. This prevents the threats from ever reaching customers’ network boundaries.

According to research firm IDC, viruses and worms continue to be the most common threat facing corporations today. A recent IDC survey found that 82% of respondents have experienced attacks. Many organisations, including financial firms, are increasingly adopting a "layered security" approach to combat viruses and spam, singular threats that are now combining to be twice as effective. This layered approach includes content filtering and proactive techniques such as behaviour analysis and heuristics. It is a strategy that will help drive the anti-virus software market alone to $4.4 billion by 2007.

One reason financial companies are using MessageLabs for protection is because online vandals are becoming more sophisticated, using viruses to create networks of compromised machines that can later be used by spammers to anonymously send mail. This was seen with SoBig.F, a virus with a mass-mailing engine that struck in August and became the fastest spreading virus ever. MessageLabs was the first company to detect, stop and name SoBig, hours before any other email security provider.

Beyond protecting more than 7,000 business customers from viruses, MessageLabs’ anti-spam service was rated by PC Magazine to be the most effective solution in the world, capturing 96.03% of spam with only a 0.04% false positive rate.

Media Contacts:
Alex Maclaverty/Amy Gooch
+44 (0)207 612 1830

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