Barracuda Networks, the creator of the famed Barracuda anti-spam hardware appliance, is adding real-time malware protection to its line of products.

Called Barracuda Real-Time Protection, the technology leverages on the strength of the company’s installed base of 40,000 spam firewall appliances to monitor for malware breakouts. This capability is achieved by creating unique binary signatures, or fingerprints of message components, including body text, embedded images, and file attachments.

Presumably, fingerprints that are deemed as suspicious are forwarded to the company’s threat center. By analyzing these fingerprints, engineers can spot a day-zero malware breakout based on the volume, source, as well as other pertinent information. Signatures of tagged malware can then be immediately pushed out to all Barracuda appliances.

You can read more from the official press release.

What Barracuda has done is a very logical extension of what services such as Email Systems has already done. The key difference is that a Barracuda appliance would most likely sit behind the firewall on your own premises as opposed to a hosted solution.

Where in the past a Barracuda will receive only updates or patches, it now emits data from within the network as well. Hence, it must be noted that in the wake of incidents such as Backdoor found in Quicken, the question is whether companies who are formally staunch supporters of Barracudas will feel at ease with this new paradigm — never mind if the data transmitted is only supposed to be a hash.

What kind of spam filtering does your company use?