Linux distro tackles spam

Astaro claims to have added sophisticated spam-blocking features in the latest version of its distribution, but security experts say it's nothing new

The latest version of Astaro Security Linux includes various features that can be optionally enabled to improve spam protection.

Astaro Security Linux is a distribution of Linux that includes integrated security features such as a firewall, VPN gateway and antivirus capabilities. The Astaro distribution was started in 2000 and is now used to protect over 20,000 networks, according to the company.

Astaro Security Linux 5.1, released last week, includes functionality that can verify the source of the email by using the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). Other features include quarantining emails and greylisting, which can block some spam by requesting the mail agent to send the email a second time.

Other features include easy integration with network management systems, and a tool to allow customers to monitor bandwidth usage.

Astaro chief executive Jan Hichert said that the improvements in the new version will make the systems more resilient and easier to manage.

"Astaro Security Linux 5.1 builds on all the award-winning features available with 5.0 by adding sophisticated spam-blocking features and management tools that eliminate threats and empower IT staff to act quickly, thereby ensuring overall security of corporate IT assets," said Hichert in a statement.

But Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security firm Sophos, said the features added by Astaro are standard anti-spam technology.

"From that shortlist it doesn't sound like anything earth-shattering," said Cluley. "Features such as quarantining and greylisting have been available for months, if not years, in anti-spam products."

The value of SPF has been questioned, following a report that found that many spammers have adopted it themselves as a way to appear more legitimate.