Collaboration Among Web-based Companies May Lead to Less Spam

Despite the culture of competition that we live in, the NY Times reports that several major Internet companies have actually been collaborating behind the scenes to attack a web-based problem that affect everyone. The publication says PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), AOL (NYSE:AOL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and nine others have formed a coalition against e-mail phishing. According to the Online Trust Alliance, more than one hunderd thousand accounts are illegally accessed each day.

If you’re not familiar, phishing is a type of scam in which an e-mail is sent to you with the intention of obtaining information that might be used to scam you out of money, crash websites, disrupt servers, or numerous other forms of shady business. This major industry attack on spam has been underway for about 18 months, but today the companies announced a new standard for e-mail authentication and spam reporting called Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, otherwise known as DMARC. The goal of DMARC is not only to prevent people from falling victim to phishing scams, but also to learn more about phishing, such as who is behind it and why they target certain people.

The creators and therefore first participants of the program include PayPal, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), American Greetings (NYSE:AM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Fidelity Investments and e-mail security firms ReturnPath, Agari, eCert, Cloudmark and the Trusted Domain Project. Other companies can adopt the new standard by going to DMARC.org. The NY Times quoted Brett McDowell, a senior security manager at PayPal and a chair of DMARC.org who said, “This is a full-court press by the world’s leading companies in consumer security to take on what has been a longstanding vulnerability for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ashley Cloninger at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com