Microsoft Furthers E-Mail Protection Efforts
Industry collaboration influences adoption of e-mail authentication technologies, including the Sender ID framework.
REDMOND, Wash. — April 18, 2006 — Leading into its participation in this week’s second annual Email Authentication Summit in Chicago, Microsoft Corp. today announced strong momentum in its ongoing work with other technology industry leaders to help promote safety and user trust in the e-mail ecosystem. As part of its continued commitment to industry collaboration, Microsoft is joining more than 36 companies and industry and business organizations to help plan and underwrite this year’s summit in an effort to further build online trust and confidence through effective technologies and prescriptive guidance. Today’s announcement from Microsoft included new details on the rapidly increasing adoption of the Sender ID framework for e-mail authentication, as well as the launch of an enhanced MSN® Postmaster Services program, an updated set of services to help e-mail senders and Internet service providers (ISPs) better manage their outbound e-mail infrastructure.
During the summit on April 19, companies and marketers will learn more about the business value of e-mail authentication technologies, such as Sender ID, a leading authentication protocol created through industry collaboration and supported by Microsoft. Sender ID works by verifying the domain name from which e-mail is sent by checking the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the server that sent the message against a published list of legitimate IP addresses for the domain the message claims to be from.
“Companies of all sizes are realizing the significant business value of e-mail authentication and reputation services to improve e-mail deliverability and help protect their brand identities,” said Craig Spiezle, director of the Technology Care and Safety Group at Microsoft. “In particular, businesses are adopting Sender ID because it requires few if any changes to most e-mail systems, and typically there are no hard costs or additional software required to implement it, making it simple and cost-effective.”
According to data attributed to MarkMonitor and validated by Microsoft, research gathered surveying the Domain Name System (DNS) indicates the following:
• There has been a threefold increase in Sender ID adoption among Fortune 500 companies, increasing from 7 percent in July 2005 to 21 percent in March 2006.
• In the past year, the number of dot-com and dot-net domains publishing their SPF records jumped by more than 125 percent, increasing from 750,000 domains in March 2005 to 2.16 million domains in March 2006.
• MarkMonitor and VeriSign found that with more than 3.3 million domains worldwide now sending Sender ID-compliant e-mail, approximately 2 billion e-mail messages from known, legitimate senders are sent each day globally.
In addition, according to a recent statistical analysis conducted by Microsoft of e-mail received and evaluated by MSN Hotmail® customers through the Hotmail Feedback Loop program, data indicates that the use of Sender ID in combination with effective reputation services can help enhance the accuracy of e-mail filtering. The following are among the results:
• When looking at e-mail messages that pass a Sender ID check versus a random sampling of inbound “good” e-mail, the analysis showed a reduction of up to 80 percent in the level of false positives in the e-mail filtering processes.
• For high-volume “good” senders that publish Sender ID records, Microsoft’s analysis showed their false positive rate drops on average nearly to zero.
Since January 2006, MSN Hotmail has seen a significant increase of Sender ID-compliant mail, from 20 percent to nearly 32 percent. And more than a dozen third-party solutions are shipping that support Sender ID to help continue to accelerate the adoption among businesses worldwide, including Alt-N Technologies, Barracuda Networks, CipherTrust Inc., Cloudmark, ICONIX Inc., IronPort Systems Inc., MailFrontier, Microsoft, Port25 Solutions Inc., Sendmail Inc., OmniTI Computer Consulting Inc., StrongMail Systems Inc., Symantec Corp. and Tumbleweed Communications Corp.
In addition to Sender ID, Microsoft today unveiled the new MSN Postmaster Services, designed to help provide vital information, best practices and tools for legitimate ISPs to help better manage their e-mail infrastructure. Evolving from an early beta that launched last year, MSN Postmaster Services allows e-mail senders to learn about Microsoft’s e-mail filtering and protection technologies and best practices for helping ensure that legitimate e-mail can reach MSN Hotmail customers. It also helps e-mail providers looking to improve their e-mail deliverability rates to better troubleshoot their outbound e-mail issues by providing information about e-mail traffic coming to MSN Hotmail and Windows Live™ Mail Beta from their systems, such as customer complaint reports and more. The service also offers a redesigned user interface, allowing easier navigation and data customization to meet the diverse needs of companies large and small.
“During the past five years, Microsoft has invested substantial resources into designing and implementing various technologies and services designed to reduce the threats of unsolicited mail and to thwart potential spammers,” said John Scarrow, general manager of the Technology Care and Safety Group at Microsoft. “That effort continues today, not only as we strive to provide better protection for our own customers, but as we work with industry partners to improve the e-mail experience for all consumers and businesses.”
MSN Postmaster Services includes a variety of tools and information:
• A junk mail reporting program allowing organizations to access the e-mail messages from their network that are perceived negatively by MSN and Windows Live users
• Smart Network Data Services, which provide reports on how MSN and Windows Live Mail e-mail filters are processing messages — a unique tool in the industry in how it can be used to find and stop “zombie” computers that can be used to send spam
• A detailed overview of the MSN and Windows Live Mail junk mail filtering processes and accompanying guidelines documentation to help improve organizations’ deliverability to MSN Hotmail and Windows Live users
MSN Postmaster Services are free and are currently available in English only. They will be made available in several more languages in the near future. More information is available at http://postmaster.msn.com. More information on Sender ID and Microsoft’s commitment to online safety can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/safety.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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