Insights from CSA Partner Abusix – In conversation with Steve Freegard

In conversation with Steve Freegard

Steve Freegard - Senior Product Owner
Steve has worked in many different roles in IT, starting in network support, system administration, and as a developer. He has worked for Abusix since January 2019 and is the architect of Abusix Mail Intelligence. When he isn’t thinking about how to improve our product offerings, he can be heard on the radio, working as a presenter on the local commercial music station in the UK.

Who is Abusix, and what do they do?

Abusix offers email and network security solutions for ISPs, Telcos, and Cloud & Hosting providers to stop the rapidly growing problem of email-borne threats and other kinds of network abuse.

To be more precise: Our SaaS Abuse Management Platform (AbuseHQ) enables security teams to gain visibility within their networks and to react to abuse cases in an automated way. At the same time, our set of blocklists (Abusix Mail Intelligence) prevents email-borne threats such as spam and malware from entering your network.

Those are our two main products, but we are working on more projects at the moment, e.g., via our Abusix Portal, you’ll soon be able to access all the necessary tools and services to report any type of internet abuse. We will then package the abuse report into XARF and report it to the network owner, who is responsible for its remediation.

There are so many commercial and non-commercial blocklists out there. Why is there a need for another one like yours?

That’s a good question. There are a lot of blocklists available, but few are suitable for carrier-grade mail systems, and even fewer provide a complete suite of data that is more than just IP addresses or domain names.

We felt there had been a lack of innovation and serious competition in the market, so we decided to build Abusix Mail Intelligence to provide that.

Abusix Mail Intelligence consists of several blocklists and a welcome list (previously referred to as a whitelist). They provide data for IP addresses, domain names, URL shorteners, Email Addresses, Drive service URLs, Attachment hashes, and Bitcoin Wallet addresses. We constantly monitor and improve these lists and look for new avenues to catch bad behavior as the threat landscape changes daily.

Looking at the number of happy customers, like Swisscom, Synacor, and Rediff, I think we’ve quickly proven that we’re a serious contender. We are incredibly proud of our customer service team, which is receiving outstanding feedback from our customers.

What challenges are you currently seeing in your industry?

It’s 2022, and there are still companies running mailing lists that are not confirmed opt-in and have insufficient sign-up form security that, when combined, allows bots to add addresses to lists without question.

We still see people running mailing lists with no bounce handling and recipient removal processes. There is still the misguided thought that a bigger = better when it comes to listing sizes or volume of messages sent, whereas the truth is it’s all about engagement.

Senders often still don’t have good outbound security, so spam, fraud, phishing, and malware still get through. But the biggest challenge is “too big to block” entities that consistently leak high volumes of junk.

CSA and Abusix partnered up in 2021 to protect email participants - what makes CSA and Abusix a great match?

Abusix and CSA have aligned goals; that’s why we make a great match.

CSA provides Abusix with information about companies and entities that would like to gain accreditation or have already been accredited. Abusix reports any traffic seen to our spam traps from these entities back to the CSA. Therefore any issues can be addressed and resolved quickly based on this data.

Additionally, to have a good blocklist, you must have an even better welcome list, and the CSA accreditation list is one of the things used to build our welcome list. It is then used to prevent IP or domain listings (except in cases with indicators of compromise or infection), as we know that the CSA will quickly deal with any issues with spam trap hits.

What are you currently working on in improving user experience?

We want to double down on building the best consumer email experience. Period. As I said earlier, we are facing a new reality and we believe this also requires new and fresh solutions to help our users. We know that as consumers we all use email to stay connected to brands. Now more than ever, email is key in digital purchasing. That’s why we recently launched a frictionless shopping experience and integration with Walmart -- right within your inbox. And you can imagine that we have even more ideas to make shopping and staying connected to the brands you love even easier.

About Abusix

Abusix provides the missing piece in today’s network security environment that allows for quick and reliable mitigation of network abuse and other cyber threats. Hundreds of ISPs, Telcos, Cloud & Hosting providers, and Enterprises rely on Abusix to keep their networks secure and their users safe.

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