Tech 8 November 2018

Ed Drake

Salesforce new patent kills email spam with blockchain

San Francisco-based B2B software company Salesforce has been awarded a patent for a blockchain application aimed specifically at spam email.

The blockchain platform will filter spam emails more effectively than existing spam filters, by matching up sent and received messages to records stored on a distributed ledger.

The patent was revealed in documents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week, which described how Salesforce intends to leverage blockchain technology for detecting emails that have been intercepted or otherwise tampered with between sender and receiver.

Compared to existing spam filters, the blockchain dimension allows for more accurate detection of spam, as well as reducing instances of ‘false positives,’ where genuine emails are inadvertently flagged up as spam.

The Salesforce concept takes a sample of emails being sent and writes the content to a blockchain, where it’s stored for reference. Received emails are then automatically referenced against the stored content, to determine whether the email is a match.

Non-matching emails can be automatically labelled as spam, solving the problem of messaging systems that are “abused and used to distribute unwanted or undesirable messages (or other network traffic), which are commonly referred to as spam.”

The patent described how messages are rendered impenetrable by the immutability and distributed construct of the blockchain platform.

“The [system] can also better identify legitimate (wanted) messages and distinguish them from illegitimate (unsolicited) messages. Used properly, the immutability and distributed nature of the blockchain can make it impossible to modify information once it has been committed to the blockchain,” according to the patent filing.

The document describes other applications for this kind of system, citing examples of patient medical records or property deeds, which could be reported and referenced through the same blockchain system.

The patent seems to be a good fit for Salesforce’s cloud email business, although the firm is known for its investigation applications of blockchain tech across other areas of their business.

Back in March, CEO Mark Benioff indicated there were further blockchain projects on the horizon for Salesforce, as the software giant looks to capitalise on the opportunities in blockchain tech.

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