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SYS-CON UK Authors: Salvatore Genovese, Jeremy Geelan, Jamie Matusow

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Cisco and Yahoo! Join to Fight Spam

Will Combine Technologies Into Single Solution

Yahoo! Mail and Cisco are collaborating to fight spam and other forms of e-mail forgery by developing a merged specification of Yahoo’s DomainKeys and Cisco’s Internet Identified Mail. The merged solution will be called DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and will be offered free of charge to the industry at large, according to Cisco.

“DKIM is a unified e-mail authentication proposal that enhances consumer protection from e-mail forgery, and enhances accountability for spam and phishing scams,” according to Cisco. The approach uses public key cryptography to allow users to verify and maintain message integrity, and clearly identifies legitimate messages. DKIM uses the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) in the same manner as DomainKeys. DKIM also leverages Identified Internet Mail's header-signing technology, ensuring signature consistency as messages are sent through the network.

The benefits of signing e-mail using DKIM can be significant for companies that commonly send transactional e-mail to consumers, such as banks, utilities, and e-commerce services, Cisco says. For these companies, providing customers with a means to detect fraudulent e-mail can translate directly into increased user satisfaction, reduced customer care costs, and strengthened brand reputation.

"Yahoo! is receiving more than 350 million messages signed by DomainKeys per day. By collaborating with key industry players like Cisco and technology visionaries like Eric Allman of Sendmail, we can offer a solution that addresses the problem of e-mail forgery today, and increases the level of defense against fraudulent e-mails and phishing attacks," said Miles Libbey, anti-spam product manager for Yahoo! Mail.

"E-mail fraud is a global problem that ultimately costs companies millions of dollars in direct losses, technology expenditures, lost productivity and even network downtime," said Jim Fenton, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco Systems. "In accordance with our commitment to standards, Cisco is pleased to join forces with key partners such as Yahoo! on the development of an effective solution that significantly mitigates the impact of e-mail fraud on both consumers and businesses."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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