AOL testing new antispam technology

Monday, 26 January 2004, 1:06 PM EST

Deluged by unsolicited commercial, or spam, e-mail messages, AOL is trying a new technology for cracking down on one common spammer tool: forged sender addresses, which spammers and virus writers use to bypass blacklists and trick unsuspecting recipients.

AOL is conducting a trial of a new e-mail protocol called Sender Permitted From, or SPF, across its entire user base of 33 million subscribers. The company hopes that SPF will eliminate e-mail forgeries by enabling organizations to specify which servers are allowed to send mail on behalf of their Internet domain, according to AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham.

SPF stops e-mail address spoofing by modifying the Domain Name System (DNS) to declare which servers can send mail from a particular Internet domain. AOL is using SPF to publish the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the servers it uses to send outgoing e-mail. DNS is the system that translates numeric IP addresses into readable Internet domain names.

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