Email Providers Gear Up For Sender ID - Competing Technology
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Also among the complaints is that Yahoo is developing a service called DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to compete with Sender ID, so Microsoft technology is not yet a proven standard. Whereas AOL is again supporting Sender ID, Google’s Gmail is supporting DomainKeys. Yahoo had been working with Sendmail on the project, and added Cisco to their team this June. The DomainKeys involves attaching an encrypted digital signature to all emails. The private, encoded signature would be compared to one held on a public server. If the public one confirms that the sender information is correct, the email would be delivered. Yahoo said that DKIE would certainly remain free to use, making sure people were not concerned with any future licensing restrictions. AOL and Microsoft have taken a look at DomainKeys, but they haven’t made any statements about supporting it in Sender ID.
So what is the state of email authentication already? A number of hosts have begun supporting it despite a lack of standards, in hopes that one will emerge. One report shows that 13% of spam is already using email authentication systems. This spam is not at risk of being blocked by the new Sender ID service. As mentioned earlier, this spam is easier to track and block using conventional filters. Spammers adopting authentication systems may allow this mail to get through this initial line of defense once it is a widespread standard, but the spam filters could intuitively check which addresses are sending a bulk of unsolicited email. Those addresses could be red flagged and blocked.
Also, if particular web hosts are found to be popular among spammers, mail giants like Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL could try to coerce them into reducing their spammer-friendliness. They could threaten to block the whole domain unless the provider institute more email limitations for its users.
Overall, the SPF technologies sound very promising. As the old saying goes, we’ll never please everybody all of the time, but hopefully Microsoft’s push will help developers to define a standard that is satisfactory to most people. If not, get ready to update your mail program by Microsoft’s rules.
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