Feeds

Anti-phishing DMARC adoption gathers (free) steam

Biggest webmail names open anti-spam intelligence

Security for virtualized datacentres

The world's biggest names in the consumer webmail space are sharing security intelligence with businesses for free to help drive adoption of the DMARC email-authentication system.

Last month, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, and Yahoo! joined up with service providers such as PayPal to push the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) standard, which integrate with Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) systems.

The advantage of participating in DMARC for businesses is that they, as domain name holders, can specify email-handling policy via DMARC, which acts as an overlay for SPF and DKIM checking. By confirming that an email message is actually coming from a business' servers and not from a spammer, spoofed emails are cut out, and info about that spam-blocking is then fed back into the DMARC register to identify the email systems being used by the spammers. The open flow of information between DMARC and businesses ensures that both sides benefit from more efficient spam blocking.

This week, the email-intelligence firm and founding member of the DMARC consortium Agari opened up its Receiver Program, making it free to all comers. Businesses can sign up to get the latest anti-spam and anti-phishing intelligence from members of DMARC, and can use it to refine filtering techniques.

"This makes it free to implement in minutes," Agari spokeswoman Suzanne Matick told The Register. "You're automatically getting policy instead of building your own form, and the policy can be easily updated."

Giving all this intelligence away for free is a loss leader for the webmail companies, since it cuts down on both the infrastructure costs of dealing with the stuff, and on user dissatisfaction. By getting all the biggest consumer names on board, DMARC is looking for a quick route to market criticality.

George Bilbrey, president of DMARC cofounder Return Path, told The Register that having 40 per cent of consumer webmail providers getting behind the standard gave it instant momentum, but that the business market would take more time and finesse. However, the security industry had seen the benefits right away.

"I've been at a conference this week, and based on casual conversations, enterprise security vendors are very interested," he said. "They all have it on their map, and we'll see the first DMARC-spec products within a year, I suspect."

The draft DMARC specification was released on Monday and the standard's supporters are moving quickly. Paul Midgen, vice-chair of DMARC.org and senior program manager at Hotmail, told The Register that Hotmail is "almost ready to complete" on DMARC, and that progress on the final specification is well under way.

The DMARC spec is now in a public consultation phase, he explained, and the team is collecting feedback from users on what needs to be included. On a loose timeframe, the final revisions should be completed by next summer, and the goal is to move it on to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for ratification within a year after that.

"The expectation is that when we turn over control to the IETF there will be more changes, and we need to acknowledge that," Midgen said. "The DMARC group has done a very good job of being inclusive, but an IETF submission is a huge consideration and you never know what's going to happen."

He suggested businesses could get involved in a couple of ways. First, the sender side of email could be augmented with DMARC – it's a fairly simple job to get up and running. The larger the company, the more difficult the installation, as with most updates, but the long-term cost savings would be significant, Midgen asserted. Secondly, businesses could get an early heads-up on the latest security data, and at least lay the groundwork to cut lead-times for future implementation. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.