Email cyberattacks are a growing threat across the shipping and maritime industry. Recent statistics from APWG indicate 5% of all phishing attacks in 2023 targeted the shipping sector. Akéreon has made a name as the go-to maritime industry email service provider for a secure email solution. Find out how Spamhaus’ Data Query Service (DQS) has assisted Akéreon in spotting which emails to give a wide berth.

About Akéreon

Greece-based Akéreon is the largest email service provider dedicated to the maritime and shipping industry. They process a colossal 3-3.5 million emails daily for their customers worldwide. With a small but expert team, Akéreon provides outbound and inbound email, hosting and anti-spam services to ensure customers’ emails go from port to port without being marked as spam. As Charis Nassis, Partner at Akéreon puts it, “The Greeks know how to do it”. 

The challenge of shipping emails around the world

Shipping is a global business. Like any other global business, email is vital for communicating with clients, managing logistics, and handling administrative tasks. With some shipping companies processing 6-7k emails daily, spam, phishing attacks, malware infections, and data breaches are persistent challenges.

Akéreon customers work with businesses of all sizes and geolocations from global shipping operations, to the local broker. Unfortunately, the same standards do not always apply when configuring their email systems. With this, many are hesitant to install email filters, due to the risk of high false positives. And when legitimate emails are incorrectly identified as spam, it can lead to important communications being missed or delayed.

Despite the challenges, many shipping companies recognize the importance of email filtering in mitigating malicious emails. Using a service like Akéreon that utilizes industry-leading Spamhaus DQS provides a reliable and secure email solution.

It’s all hands on deck

Akéreon has managed its own blocklist data for almost 20 years, keeping a list of bad actors, domains, and email data gathered from their shipping traffic to protect their customers. Due to the specialized nature of the industry, they cannot rely on their data alone to detect all unwanted emails. It requires a breadth of data. With this, Akéreon is always on the lookout for new data to improve the accuracy of its anti-spam service.

Having used the free Spamhaus data via the SpamAssassin plugin for over five years, the commercial Spamhaus DQS was the next port of call to widen their anti-spam operation.

Knot your typical use case

Akéreon does not use Spamhaus’ blocklists in the traditional sense i.e. to block emails. Instead they use a tagging system, to give users context for both inbound and outbound email threats. To achieve this, the SpamAssassin plugin with Spamhaus DQS, integrates directly with Akéreon’s systems. 

The IP and domain data provides additional context to Akéreon’s bountiful insight. From here a decision can be made on how they will treat the email – is it spam or not? Once tagged with, “X-Spam-Flag: Yes or No”, email traffic is immediately passed on to the customer to make an informed decision on whether they accept the communication or not. The tag is typically used by customers to place malicious emails in junk mail. However, Akéreon assists customers to find the most effective way to manage incoming malicious emails, depending on individual needs and the software applications they use.

A quality partner-ship

Spamhaus blocklists have proven to be a game-changer for Akéreon providing high-quality data, as Charis highlighted, “Spamhaus tags approximately 1% of our customers’ emails as spam, which is quite low compared to other blocklists. This has significantly reduced the number of false positives for our customers, which is crucial in the shipping industry.” And it’s the quality of the data that is key. In Charis’ own words, “if we are ever in doubt, it is Spamhaus’ data that we will trust.”

Furthermore, the alignment with a globally recognized organization reinforces quality and customer confidence. As Charis explains the utmost importance, “Collaborating with a global leader is about access to expertise, reliability and innovation that transcend borders. Partnering with the best is essential for Akéreon to stay ahead of the curve and ensure seamless, secure email communication on a global scale.”

To sign up for a free 30 day DQS trial, click here.


Data Query Service (DQS)

Spamhaus’ Data Query Service (DQS) is an affordable and effective solution to protect your email infrastructure and users.

Using your existing email protection solution, you will be able to block spam and other related threats including malware, ransomware, and phishing emails.

The service has never failed and utilizes the longest established DNSBLs in the industry.

  • Proactive & preventative
  • Save on email infrastructure & management costs
  • Actionable

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