Good Email Habits are Important: MAAWG Explains Messaging Reputation Assessment

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Also Takes on Botnet Mitigation, Mobile Spam, Public Policy Teamwork

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Messaging reputation has evolved beyond the simple whitelist-blacklist approach to provide a more sophisticated range of responses than just 'good or bad.' As a result, fewer legitimate emails are tagged as junk while more fraudulent and annoying spam messages are kept out of inboxes, and the technology can also help service providers operate more efficiently

Your good email habits have become an important tool to help inbox providers and ISPs protect you and other customers from online fraud and spam. A new white paper for IT professionals and volume email senders from the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) demystifies the messaging reputation technology now used by most large service providers to identify abusive and errant emails as junk mail.

"MAAWG Message Sender Reputation Concepts and Common Practices" explains how online behavior by a person or an organization can be used to calculate the likelihood a message is spam. Combined with other technologies, it is a powerful tool to improve email deliverability because it more precisely ties accountability to the sender's identity rather than analyzing message content, according to the paper's editor, Michael Adkins, co-chair of the MAAWG technical committee and AOL senior systems programmer.

"Messaging reputation has evolved beyond the simple whitelist-blacklist approach to provide a more sophisticated range of responses than just 'good or bad.' As a result, fewer legitimate emails are tagged as junk while more fraudulent and annoying spam messages are kept out of inboxes, and the technology can also help service providers operate more efficiently," Adkins said.

Just as a person's or company's behavior affects how they are perceived in the community, messaging reputation is based on a calculated evaluation of the identity's ongoing compliance with industry-accepted email practices. The white paper provides an overview of a messaging reputation system's assessment goals, models and algorithms. It was completed at the MAAWG 15th General Meeting in February and released to the industry today on the organization's Web site, http://www.MAAWG.org.

Security Needs Support Continued MAAWG Growth

The organization's 15th meeting in San Francisco was one of its largest with 350 online security professionals from 10 countries and 130 companies collaborating against botnets, spam and all forms of abusive messaging. The 30 sessions over four days included a keynote by Washington Post journalist Brian Krebs sharing how his investigative reporting led to identifying McColo-hosted botnets; talks by ICANN representatives and Knujon's Bob Bruen on fighting domain abuse; and a session with FBI executives on finding and prosecuting botnet masters. User advocate Jayne Hitchcock of HaltAbuse.org spoke on educating customers.

Other strategic projects from the meeting will be addressed in MAAWG committees over the next few months, including mobile spam reporting formats, botnet mitigation practices, and feedback loops to help providers estimate costs, among other issues. These and other topics will be featured at the MAAWG 16th General Meeting, June 9-11 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

About the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG)

The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) is where the messaging industry comes together to work against spam, viruses, denial-of-service attacks and other online exploitation. MAAWG (http://www.MAAWG.org) represents almost one billion mailboxes from some of the largest network operators worldwide. It is the only organization addressing messaging abuse holistically by systematically engaging all aspects of the problem, including technology, industry collaboration and public policy. MAAWG leverages the depth and experience of its global membership to tackle abuse on existing networks and new emerging services. Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., MAAWG is an open forum driven by market needs and supported by major network operators and messaging providers.

Media Contact: Linda Marcus, APR, 714-974-6356, lmarcus (at) astra (dot) cc, Astra Communications

MAAWG Board of Directors: AOL; AT&T (NYSE: T); Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR); Cloudmark, Inc.; Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA); Cox Communications; France Telecom (NYSE and Euronext: FTE); Goodmail Systems; MX Logic (Full-Member representative to the Board); Openwave Systems (NASDAQ: OPWV); Time Warner Cable; Verizon Communications; and Yahoo! Inc.

MAAWG Full Members: 1&1 Internet AG; AG Interactive; Bizanga LTD; Constant Contact; e-Dialog; Eloqua Corporation; Experian CheetahMail; Google, Inc.; Internet Initiative Japan, (IIJ NASDAQ: IIJI); IronPort Systems; McAfee Inc.; MX Logic; Outblaze LTD; Return Path, Inc.; Spamhaus; Sprint; Symantec; and Telefonica SA.

A complete member list is available at http://www.maawg.org/about/roster.

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