Email

Email / Featured Blogs

The Cycle of E-Mail Security

Stepping back from the DMARC arguments, it occurs to me that there is a predictable cycle with every new e-mail security technology... Someone invents a new way to make e-mail more secure, call it SPF or DKIM or DMARC or (this month's mini-fiasco) PGP in DANE. Each scheme has a model of the way that mail works. For some subset of e-mail, the model works great, for other mail it works less great. more

Rodney Joffe Wins a Well-Deserved Mary Litynski Award

Every year M3AAWG gives an award for lifetime work in fighting abuse and making the Internet a better place. Yesterday at its Dublin meeting they awarded it to Rodney Joffe, who has been quietly working for over 20 years. I can't imagine anyone who deserves it more. more

Facebook and PGP

Facebook just announced support for PGP, an encrypted email standard, for email from them to you. It's an interesting move on many levels, albeit one that raises some interesting questions. The answers, and Facebook's possible follow-on moves, are even more interesting. The first question, of course, is why Facebook has done this. It will only appeal to a very small minority of users. Using encrypted email is not easy. more

M3AAWG & i2Coalition Collaborate on Best Practices on Anti-Abuse in Hosting & Cloud Environments

I am excited to announce the recent release of the industry first Best Common Practices document for Cloud and Hosting providers for addressing abuse issues that was created by M3AAWG and the i2Coalition. M3AAWG has been collaborating with the Best Practices Working Group of the i2Coalition over the past 2 years to discuss ways to solve malicious activity within hosting and cloud ecosystems.  more

End-to-End Email Encryption - This Time For Sure?

Phil Zimmerman's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and its offspring have been encrypting and decrypting email for almost 25 years -- but require enough knowledge and determination to use them that adoption has never taken off outside the technoscenti. Now initiatives from several quarters aim to fix that -- but will it all "just work," and will end users adopt it even if it does? more

Who Is Sending Email As Your Company?

You might expect that the IT department or security team knows who's sending email using your company's domains. But for a variety of reasons these groups are often unaware of many legitimate senders -- not to mention all the bad actors. Fortunately you can get a more complete view by using DMARC's reporting features. How does it happen? Product teams managing a new product launch or customer survey hire marketing consultants and Email Service Providers (ESP)... more

When DNSBLs Go Bad

I have often remarked that any fool can run a DNS-Based Blacklist (DNSBL) and many fools do so. Since approximately nobody uses the incompetently run black lists, they don't matter. Unfortunately, using a DNSBL requires equally little expertise, which becomes a problem when an operator wants to shut down a list. When someone sets up a mail server (which we'll call an MTA for Mail Transfer Agent), one of the tasks is to configure the anti-spam features, which invariably involves using DNSBLs. more

Email Vendors: Time to Build in DMARC

DMARC is extremely useful, yet I've heard some vendors are putting their implementations on hold because of the IETF DMARC working group. You really shouldn't wait though -- it's been in wide use for nearly three years, enterprises are looking at DMARC for B2B traffic, and the working group charter is limited in it's scope for changes. Let's compare this to a similar situation in the past. more

The EFF and Hanlon's Razor

The EFF has just posted a shallower than usual deeplink alleging an "email encryption downgrade attack" by ISPs intent on eavesdropping on their customers. They, along with VPN provider Golden Frog, have additionally complained to the FCC reporting this. Here, they've just noticed something that's common across several hotel / airport wifi networks... more

A Look at the Origins of Network Email

The history of long distance communication is a fascinating, and huge, subject. I'm going to focus just on the history of network email -- otherwise I'm going to get distracted by AUTODIN and semaphore and facsimile and all sorts of other telegraphy. Electronic messaging between users on the same timesharing computer was developed fairly soon after time-sharing computer systems were available, beginning around 1965 -- including both instant messaging and mail. more