Yahoo Mail Adds DomainKeys Authentication

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-11-15

Yahoo Mail Adds DomainKeys Authentication

Yahoo Inc. is putting its e-mail authentication method into action.

On Monday, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company will begin to support its DomainKeys cryptographic approach for Yahoo Mail, one of the largest Web-based e-mail services in the world.

Yahoos DomainKeys move will come as part of a series of enhancements to Yahoo Mail. The company will announce that it has increased the storage limit for free e-mail accounts from 100MB to 250MB and has raised the maximum attachment size for premium accounts from 10MB to 20MB.

By supporting DomainKeys on its own service, Yahoo hopes to jump-start broader adoption of its answer to stemming the rise of spam and phishing attacks through e-mail.

Online attackers regularly send unsolicited e-mails and lure consumers into clicking malicious links or providing personal information by disguising their e-mail addresses with the domains of major consumer companies.

"By implementing and deploying DomainKeys, were showing that the cryptographic solution is not only the long-term answer but todays answer as well," said Miles Libbey, anti-spam product manager for Yahoo Mail.

Click here to read more about how phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated.

DomainKeys uses public/private key cryptography to verify the sender of an e-mail at the level of an Internet domain, such as Like other authentication methods, it requires that both the sending and receiving e-mail servers implement the technology.

Yahoo over the past week has begun supporting the signing of outgoing mail using DomainKeys, Libbey said. On Monday, it will start verifying incoming mail. The rollout will begin with U.S. accounts and expand internationally by the end of the year, he said.

Leading ISP EarthLink Inc. on Monday also plans to announce that it will begin testing DomainKeys in the next few weeks.

Other early adopters of DomainKeys include top Yahoo competitor Google Inc., which is supporting the method on outgoing mail from its Gmail service, Libbey said. America Online Inc. also has expressed interest in testing DomainKeys, he said.

Next Page: Microsofts Sender ID.

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E-mail authentication has gained widespread attention as a way to combat spam and phishing. Yahoos DomainKeys is one of the two most closely watched efforts; the other is Microsoft Corp.s Sender ID method.

Sender ID has faced hurdles as it has wound its way through the standards process at the Internet Engineering Task Force. An IETF working group disbanded in September, largely over intellectual property issues with Sender ID, but the specification also has shown recent signs of life.

Microsoft plans to use Sender ID with its MSN Hotmail service, and AOL has said it plans to support a version of the authentication method.

DomainKeys also has begun the standards process at the IETF, Libbey said. Yahoo has published the DomainKeys specification, but no IETF working group has yet formed to move the spec toward a standard,

As for its other mail announcements, Yahoo appears to be continuing to aggressively compete in the e-mail storage race. The latest storage increase is its second since Googles April launch of a test of Gmail with a gigabyte of free storage.

Beyond storage, Yahoo also has made its search more prominent in Yahoo Mail and combined e-mail and Web search in the same query box, a Yahoo spokesperson said.

It also has streamlined the way users import contacts into Yahoo mail from other e-mail clients and services. A new contacts feature lets users automatically e-mail all their contacts of their Yahoo address when they switch from another service.

Yahoos acquisition of startup Oddpost Inc. has led to some new technology in Yahoo Mail. A recently added feature for automatically completing an e-mail recipients name or e-mail address in the address fields came from Oddpost, the spokesperson said.

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