Nov. 16,  ISSUE #075
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Yahoo Inc.'s e-mail service will use the company's DomainKeys authentication technology starting Monday, almost a year after Yahoo first unveiled this anti-spam project.

"This is a really big milestone for us, because with this authentication solution in place, we're increasing protection from ID (identification) theft and phishing," said Terrell Karlsten, a Yahoo spokeswoman.

DomainKeys attempts to tackle a practice called spoofing, in which a spammer changes an e-mail message's header information to deceive recipients into believing the message was sent by a known and trusted personal acquaintance or legitimate business, such as a bank or credit card company.

With spoofing, spammers try to increase the chances that recipients will open and reply to their e-mail messages. Very often, spammers' ultimate goal with spoofing is to trick recipients into revealing confidential information, such as social security numbers, bank account information and passwords, scams often referred to as "phishing."

Yahoo's DomainKeys uses cryptography to let receiving e-mail systems validate that an incoming message originated from a user authorized to send e-mail for the domain stated in the header. The receiving e-mail system uses a public key to validate a private-key signature in the incoming message.

Other providers of Internet and e-mail services, such as Microsoft (Profile, Products, Articles) Corp. and America Online (Profile, Products, Articles) Inc., are also involved in individual and collaborative initiatives to combat spam. For example, EarthLink Inc., a big U.S. ISP, is announcing Monday that it will begin testing DomainKeys.

In other related webmail news, Yahoo is announcing that it is increasing the inbox storage space for users of its free webmail service from 100MB to 250MB, as a result of user feedback. This puts Yahoo on par with Microsoft's free Hotmail webmail service.

However, both Yahoo and Microsoft still lag far from the 1GB Google (Profile, Products, Articles) Inc. is offering with its Gmail free webmail service, which is still in testing phase and available only by invitation to a limited amount of users. It was Google's Gmail announcement in April that jolted webmail providers to increase storage sizes almost across the board. Yahoo used to provide 4MB for its free webmail users, while Microsoft provided 2MB, before they respectively increased their inbox storage in recent months.

Meanwhile, Yahoo, in Sunnyvale, California, is also announcing Monday an increase in the maximum attachment size for its fee-based webmail users to 20MB from 10MB. These users pay $19.99 per year for more features than are available to the free service users, including inbox storage of 2GB.

Other enhancements to Yahoo's webmail service to be announced Monday are:

-- an improvement to the feature that automatically completes a recipient's e-mail address while a user is typing it into the e-mail message's address field;

-- tools to make it easier for users switching to Yahoo's webmail from another provider to transfer their contacts to the Yahoo address book, and to notify their contacts of their new e-mail address;

-- a more prominent placement of buttons for searching both the Web and the user's e-mail inbox.


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