You can sign up to beta test Neutralize E-mail-Web Threats (NEWT), a plug-in to e-mail gateways that stops new malicious attacks launched through spam email messages. NEWT blocks incoming email that contains URLs or IP addresses that link to known malware Web sites. NEWT's creator, Avinti, is limiting the number of participants in the public beta but plans to make the finished service available for free to the general public. To sign up, go to http://www.avinti.com/NEWT.

Hackers are increasingly using spam and targeted emails with embedded links to Web-based malware instead of attachments to bypass traditional antivirus (AV) products and Web filters. NEWT currently works with the Sendmail and Postfix Message Transfer Agents (MTAs) and Avinti plans to add support for Exim and possibly other platforms.

Users download and install NEWT as a plug-in. It contains an updated list of known malware sites, supplied by Avinti's iSolation Server product, and receives incremental updates of new malware signatures approximately every 30 minutes. Be aware that NEWT is also "designed to leverage the network effect of its users by anonymously sending URLs back for review," according to Avinti.