By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2004-03-01 Print this article Print

-Mail ID Nitty-Gritty"> E-Mail ID Nitty-Gritty

According to George Webb, group business manager at Microsoft, the first step in the CSRI framework, Caller ID, enables domain owners to assert their identity by adding records to their Domain Name System that allow recipients to verify the address of servers authorized to send e-mail.

"This is a technical proposal that, if adopted broadly across the e-mail infrastructure, would provide a great tool in fighting domain spoofing," Webb said in a telephone interview last week.

The rest of CSRI boils down to a murkier set of mechanisms for senders to prove they are not spammers by using one of two methods. (The CSRI framework is at www.microsoft.com/mscorp/twc/privacy/spam.mspx.)

Large-volume senders will have to show they conform to rules and guidelines such as those contained in the federal CAN-SPAM legislation that became effective Jan. 1.

Senders can also buy their way into Bonded Sender, an IronPort program that is administered by TRUSTe. In an interview with eWEEK Labs, Tom Gillis, senior vice president of marketing at IronPort, explained IronPorts Bonded Sender program, in which users post a bond that is debited $10 every time a recipient complains of receiving spam. To date, no money has been paid out from Bonded Sender, Gillis said.

Individuals and small companies that cant afford to join programs like Bonded Sender could face Microsofts CSRI in the form of the Black Penny program. Black Penny is an anti-spam proposal that would require e-mail programs to process a difficult computational puzzle before e-mail could be sent. In effect, this would force the sender to burn CPU cycles that add cost to e-mail message generation.

These anti-spam proposals will go before the IETF and other standards bodies for ratification—but probably not until the specifications have become de facto industry norms. Now is the time for IT managers to get involved in the process.

It is likely that the technology choices made in the next year will set the direction of anti-spam efforts until (and if) SMTP can be completely ripped out and replaced with a reliable mail transport system.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be contacted at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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