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Study: Email Authentication Rates Rise In 2011

More than 60% of the Internet Retail 500, Fortune 100, and FDIC have each adopted a form of authentication, according to the Online Trust Alliance
Seattle, Washington – October 4, 2011 – The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) today announced that use of email authentication has increased in nearly every segment over the past six months, surpassing the tipping point. Email authentication is a widely recognized best practice to help protect users from malicious email which attempts to compromise their personal data, identity and gain access to classified information. This report and the usage by leading government, Internet retail, social media and banking sites will be presented at the Online Trust Forum, October 17-19 in Washington, D.C.

With cybercriminals increasing the personalization and relevancy of malicious spear phishing, the business and technical value of email authentication has significantly increased. Since 2009, OTA has published an annual Online Safety Honor Roll & Scorecard to benchmark the adoption of security measures including both forms of authentication: Sender Policy Framework (S PF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), collectively analyzing over 2 billion emails. The October 2011 survey reveals over 60% of the Internet Retail 500, Fortune 100 and FDIC have each adopted either or both SPF and DKIM. The highest rate of adoption was realized by top social media sites at 96%, demonstrating the importance of trusted email in nearly every segment of the Internet.

"Microsoft is extremely excited to see the continued adoption of both DKIM and SPF across all sectors," said John Scarrow, Co-chair of the OTA email authentication committee and Microsoft General Manager – Safety Services. "With Cybercrime an ever and present danger, those who adopt these best practices are doing their part to reduce the impact to their customers and instill trust in their email."

"OTA has long emphasized the importance of bringing trust to email," said Tim Draegen, Co-chair OTA Email Authentication Committee and Director of Techn ical Strategy, Authentication Metrics, Inc. "The continuing increase in the adoption of email authentication is laying a foundation for email to become trusted, resilient to fraud, and to remain the world's dominant form of online communication. The committee is excited with ongoing progress and will continue to work with all sectors to realize the benefits of authenticated email."

"In just six months, we’ve seen increases in adoption in almost every sector," said Craig Spiezle, president and executive director, Online Trust Alliance. "The increased incidence of spear phishing targeting consumers, business and government users has accelerated the business value of email authentication. Organizations who fail to adopt are putting their employees, data and consumers at an unacceptable level of risk."

Email authentication, whether DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) or Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or both, is recogni zed as an online security best practice by the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Senate, and leading industry trade organizations.

On October 17, the OTA Academy being held during the Online Trust Forum will feature a deep dive into email authentication, taught by certified instructors from AG Interactive, Authentication Metrics, eCert, Return Path, and TrustSphere. More information:

About The Online Trust Alliance The Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) mission is to develop and advocate best practices, training and public policy which mitigate emerging privacy, identity and security threats to online services, brands, government, organizations and consumers. OTA's goa l is to increase consumer protection, transparency and control of their data and online activities, thereby enhancing online trust and confidence and the long-term vitality online services.

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