Yahoo! and Cisco systems combine antispam technology

Yahoo! Inc. and Cisco Systems are combining their antispam technologies to create a new e-mail authentication system, the companies said this week.

The new system, called DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), will draw on Yahoo's DomainKeys authentication technology and Cisco's Internet Identified Mail. The technology will be offered to many other industry players on a royalty-free basis in an effort to reduce the amount of spam that spreads across the Internet, the companies said.

Yahoo's DomainKeys uses public-key cryptography to authenticate the sender of an e-mail at the domain level. The sending system generates a signature and inserts it in the e-mail header. The receiving system then verifies the signature using a public key published in the Domain Name System.

Cisco's authentication technology also uses cryptography but it associates the key signature with the message itself. In its system, the sending server signs the message and inserts the signature and pubic key used to create it in a new and additional header. The receiving system verifies that the public key used to sign the message is authorized for use by the sending e-mail address.

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