eBay and banks need to implement SPF and Domain Keys

eBay and banks really need implement SPF, Sender Policy Framework and DomainKeys. There I said it.

I see quite a few Phishing attacks every day. And just about all of them aren’t caught by SpamAssassin. Technically they aren’t spam, so that does make sense. But what bothers me is that this is easy mitigate for many potential victims. If eBay and banks supported SPF and DomainKeys, it would be much easier for a filter to tell if the message is legitimate or not. Check out this sample SpamAssassin header from a eBay phishing email I received:

X-Spam-Level: **
X-Spam-Status: No, score=3.0 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_50,HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_28,
	MIME_HTML_ONLY autolearn=no version=3.1.0

That’s really not much in this otherwise pretty bad email. The IP of origin isn’t even in North America (it’s Pacific Rim).

Perhaps it’s time to start a campaign to urge institutions subject to having their name used in these attacks to start using a method like SPF and DomainKeys. A mail provider could then throw out emails that don’t match. Anyone know why they still don’t implement one or both of these methods?

It seems to me they could easily take a giant step to solve the problem. I know Google’s Gmail knows about SPF, and Yahoo knows about DomainKeys. That’s two major email providers right there.

Microsoft pushing Sender ID?

Ok, just when I was starting to think that Microsoft may be changing their ways and trying to act in good faith after them fixing their website the other day. Microsoft starts talking about pushing their sender ID stuff on us. Sender ID is Microsoft’s alternative to the other spam prevention techniques such as Yahoo’s DomainKeys. One problem with Sender ID is the licensing, which has caused organizations like Apache Foundation (who oversee the SpamAssassin project), to nix support for Sender ID. AOL has also also dropped support, and looked towards SPF.

I agree one one of these standards is needed to help prevent spam. Personally I think DomainKeys is the most promising of them all. It’s licensing looks like it will be adequate, and it has a fair amount of backing. Google’s Gmail has apparantly implemented SPF and DomainKeys at this time. I think it’s time for everyone to start looking at following their lead. These two technologies look to be the best. And by implementing them, your mail is more likely to get past spam filters. Microsoft is right, it’s time to start acting. But not with their own proprietary stuff.