VeriSigns Anti

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-10-07 Print this article Print

-Spam Plans"> Obviously, textual analysis is not an easy technique, but it has proved to work. The second technique is to analyze a blogs origin. VeriSign is looking at identity authentication using domain keys, a PKI standard that Yahoo Inc. came up with and Google and other ISPs adopted to use for e-mail authentication. E-mail is, after all, the original patient suffering from the problem of spam, Graves pointed out.
As it now stands, blog protocols are so simple, its childs play to write a blog and send a ping that claims the post is from Gizmodo or some other popular blog. While its not that difficult to intercept such an imposter, users may see it as a legitimate update to a popular blog, click on it and find themselves at an online poker page, for example.
Thus, VeriSign will be looking at supplying a lightweight digital hash or signature for blog posts. Instead of having a simple blacklist of sploggers, the company could set up and maintain a credit score for bloggers, for example. Privacy guardians take note: Authentication doesnt mean personally identifiable information. "Weve become very keen on making sure we take pains to differentiate that identity is one thing, but authentication and credentials is another," Graves said. "We can provide identity tools. They can be anonymous. … Theres no privacy issue involved. Identity is a way to tell A from B, just to tell that A is not B. … As long as you know Im not somebody Im trying to pose as, thats very useful information." Heuristics is the third tool. Reverse-engineering tools can look at blogs to determine whether theyve been created by specific tools from the splogger community. "Theyre fairly sophisticated, template-driven to provide a specified blog with appropriate posts and pages, a thousand at a time," Graves said. "But inevitably they leave some kind of structure, some kind of signature behind, that you can say, Ah ha, that has the fingerprint of tools out there that create these blogs." Its all very community-minded, but of course VeriSign has plans to make money off the Weblogs buy. While basic pings processed by will remain free to submit and retrieve, VeriSign plans to layer paid services on top, Graves said. Over time, the company will add value-added services to publishers and consumers, much in the same way that Yahoo provides basic e-mail for free and offers extra storage, domain hosting or integrated Web sites for additional fees. From that point looms the enterprise market—and therein lies perhaps one of the biggest lures when it comes to getting the blogosphere plumbing done right—if not for VeriSign, then for the services who are already angling to catch that fish. "NewsGator has a big footprint in aggregating for the enterprise," Graves said. "[At this point], its like selling e-mail without spam filtering. Enterprise is holding it at arms length and will continue to do so until theres some improvement in quality." Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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