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Antispam scheme on rise, boasts Microsoft

Fortune 500 buying into Sender ID

The antispam scheme, Sender ID, is making rapid gains in popularity, according to Microsoft.

Citing research figures from MarkMonitor, Craig Spiezle, director of technology care and safety for Microsoft, said that Sender ID use among Fortune 500 companies had increased from 7 percent in July 2005 to 21 percent.

Microsoft also planned to promote adoption of the Sender ID email specification and introduce a program for helping ISPs (internet service providers) protect the integrity of email messages at the Email Authentication Summit in Chicago.

About 32 percent of all email sent is Sender ID compliant, added Spiezle, who plans to speak about the adoption of Sender ID at the summit.

Sender ID was developed by Microsoft, SendMail and other companies as a type of Caller ID system for email messages, he said. The Internet Engineering Task Force is currently working to develop the Sender ID specification, the first draft of which was released in June 2004.

Sender ID allows companies to attach information to an internet domain that tells email recipients what addresses are authorised to send mail from that domain, Spiezle said. This allows the system that receives the message to recognise if it is legitimate or being spoofed by another domain, he said.

Once companies adopt the Sender ID protocol, they can gather information about which email addresses are legitimate and which are not, and create better filtering for their inbound email systems, Spiezle said. They also can decide to block email from legitimate addresses that are not useful to them.

"The first [phase] was getting systems in place to check the validity if the mail has been spoofed or not," he said. "Then you can build reputations based on what users are saying and apply that to overall scoring of the mail."

MSN Postmaster Services is aimed at helping with this second phase. The program, which Microsoft is launching at the show, provides information, best practices and tools for helping ISPs better manage their email infrastructure for serving MSN and Windows Live mail users, according to Microsoft.

It offers Smart Network Data Services, which provides reports on how MSN and Windows Live Mail email filters are processing messages. This tool can be used to find and stop computers that are sending spam, according to Microsoft.

Another feature of the program is a detailed overview of the MSN and Windows Live Mail junk-mail filtering processes and guidelines to help improve organisations' deliverability to MSN Hotmail and Windows Live users, the company said.

MSN Postmaster Services is free and available only in English, although Microsoft plans to add more language support in the future.

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