Microsoft has submitted a draft technical specification of the e-mail authentication system Sender ID to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for consideration as an industry-wide standard.
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Sender ID combines Microsoft's Caller ID for E-mail (which was submitted to the IETF for consideration in May) with Sender Policy Framework (SPF).
SPF was authored by Meng Weng Wong, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Pobox.com, a provider of subscription-based e-mail forwarding and mailing list services. Meng submitted SPF to the IETF in February.
Sender ID maintains lists of Internet Protocol addresses from which sent e-mail can be traced, and if adopted as a standard, could provide a way to close loopholes that allow e-mail senders to spoof or fake the origin of their message.
The unified specification, which was the result of discussions between Microsoft and Meng which lasted from January to May, is aimed at simplifying industry adoption of effective e-mail authentication technology.
The IETF is also considering another mail authentication submission from Yahoo, called DomainKeys.
DomainKeys works differently from Sender ID by using encryption to generate a signature based on the e-mail message text that is placed in the message header.
IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, suppliers and researchers whose work is carried out in working groups that operate mainly through mailing lists. The IETF holds three meetings a year, with the next one scheduled to take place 1 - 6 August in San Diego.
The push for an e-mail authentication standard has recently been gaining more attention.
The Anti-Spam Technical Alliance's (ASTA), whose members include such high profile e-mail providers as Yahoo, Microsoft, America Online and EarthLink, released its recommendations for stemming the tide of spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail.
Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service