Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

2/1/2008
06:42 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Email Authentication Reaches 'Tipping Point'

Authentication and Online Trust Alliance report says 55 percent of emails are authenticated

For once, some good news on the anti-phishing and anti-spam front: Over half of legitimate email worldwide is now being authenticated, according to the Authentication and Online Trust Alliance (AOTA).

The AOTA is now calling on all consumer e-commerce and financial services Websites to join the crowd.

The AOTA, a nonprofit whose board members include representatives from Bank of America, IronPort (a division of Cisco Systems), Microsoft, MX Logic, and Symantec, yesterday released its findings on the state of email authentication as a means of protecting brands from spoofing, spam, and phishing exploits.

In conjunction with the report, the AOTA is urging all enterprises to deploy email authentication at the top-level corporate domain within the next six months as a way to protect themselves and consumers.

Fifty-five percent of legit email sent worldwide from over 15 million domain holders is authenticated, according to the AOTA report, including 51 percent of the Fortune 500 consumer-facing brands; 52 percent of the Fortune 500 consumer-facing financial services brands; and 54 percent of Internet retailer top 300 brands. More than 1,300 FDIC-member banks are also doing authentication, and over 100 marketing and technology vendors now support the Sender ID (SIDF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication standards for email.

"Email authentication has now surpassed the tipping point, and we are encouraged with improvements in all key areas of measurement," says Craig Spiezle, chairman of AOTA and director of internet security & privacy at Microsoft, which helped develop SIDF. "The latest adoption data and industry collaboration is a testament to how these organizations are stepping up to protect their brands and consumers."

But phishing is obviously still very much alive and well, with Storm botnet-based hosts seen now sending out phishing emails, experts observe. More sophisticated "whaling" attacks target high-level executives and wealthy end-users; and this week, a spate of universities in the U.S. reported spear phishing attacks. Meanwhile, phishing toolkits are readily available and easy for the bad guys to deploy. (See Researchers Expose 'Stupid Phisher Tricks', Researchers, Vendors Gear Up for Whaling Attacks, and Storm Botnet Turned Toward Phishing Attacks.)

AOTA says organizations should adopt one or both of the two main authentication standards, DKIM and SIDF, and that the two are complementary.

ISPs such as AOL, Bell Canada, GoDaddy.com, Google Gmail, Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail, and Yahoo! use email authentication today, AOTA noted in its report, but "there is considerable room for improvement in the adoption rate amongst all ISPs." AOTA suggests that ISPs delete or block email that fails authentication rather than storing it in junk email folders.

Online brands that do not use email authentication could face major consequences down the road, according to the report, including lack of trust, loss of customers, lost revenue, and brand damage.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)
  • AOL LLC
  • Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO)

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    A Realistic Threat Model for the Masses
    Lysa Myers, Security Researcher, ESET,  10/9/2019
    USB Drive Security Still Lags
    Dark Reading Staff 10/9/2019
    Virginia a Hot Spot For Cybersecurity Jobs
    Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  10/9/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
    This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
    Flash Poll
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-17612
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-15
    An issue was discovered in 74CMS v5.2.8. There is a SQL Injection generated by the _list method in the Common/Controller/BackendController.class.php file via the index.php?m=Admin&c=Ad&a=category sort parameter.
    CVE-2019-17613
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-15
    qibosoft 7 allows remote code execution because do/jf.php makes eval calls. The attacker can use the Point Introduction Management feature to supply PHP code to be evaluated. Alternatively, the attacker can access admin/index.php?lfj=jfadmin&action=addjf via CSRF, as demonstrated by a payload in...
    CVE-2019-17395
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-15
    In the Rapid Gator application 0.7.1 for Android, the username and password are stored in the log during authentication, and may be available to attackers via logcat.
    CVE-2019-17602
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-15
    An issue was discovered in Zoho ManageEngine OpManager before 12.4 build 124089. The OPMDeviceDetailsServlet servlet is prone to SQL injection. Depending on the configuration, this vulnerability could be exploited unauthenticated or authenticated.
    CVE-2019-17394
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-15
    In the Seesaw Parent and Family application 6.2.5 for Android, the username and password are stored in the log during authentication, and may be available to attackers via logcat.