Microsoft unveils anti-spam tactics

BILL GATES addressed the "spam problem" in San Francisco yesterday, detailing Microsoft's "Coordinated Spam Reduction Initiative" (CSRI) and unveiling a proposal for an e-mail sender-ID system not unlike a mobile phone's caller ID system. Speaking at the RSA Conference 2004, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect said, "Spam is our e-mail customers' No. 1 complaint today." He added: "We believe that Caller ID for E-Mail and the Coordinated Spam Reduction Initiative will help change the economic model for sending spam and put spammers out of business." Gates reckons some some "relatively simple" but systemwide changes to the e-mail infrastructure are needed, to provide greater certainty about the origin of an e-mail message and to enable legitimate senders to distinguish themselves from spammers.

Microsoft suggests establishing a "verifiable identity in e-mail through a caller-ID approach", along with a system to enable "high-volume e-mail senders" to demonstrate their compliance with "reasonable" e-mail policies. The corporation also suggests creating "viable alternatives" for smaller-scale e-mail senders to distinguish themselves from spammers.

E-mail senders should have to publish the Internet protocol (IP) addresses of their outbound e-mail servers in the Domain Name System (DNS) in a format described in the Caller ID for E-Mail specification. Recipients should then be able to "examine each message to determine the purported responsible domain". This, in Microsoft's view, would enable recipient e-mail systems to query the DNS for the list of outbound e-mail server IP addresses of the purported responsible domain. They would then be able to check whether the IP address from which the message was received is on that list. Spoofed mails could then be weeded out and deleted or reported.

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News source: The Inq

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