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Recent Industry Changes: Internet Standards, ARIN WHOIS Changes, Hotmail Postmaster Pages

Signing Email is now a Draft Standard!

Signing email transitioned from a proposed standard to a draft standard (RFC6376—one of the new RFCs) over at the IETF a few days ago. The other is RFC6377.

Let’s go through a brief history of DKIM RFCs to refresh our memories –

RFC4871: May 2007 → the original DKIM RFC

RFC5672: August 2009 → an update to RFC4871, which clarifies the nature, roles, and relationship of the 2 DKIM identifier tag values that are candidates for payload delivery to a receiving processing module.

RFC6376: September 2011 → This cleans up the original version(s) of DKIM, thereby knocking off RFC’s 4871 & RFC5672.

RFC6377: Recommended practices for using DKIM, mostly focused at mailing list managers — with some useful guidance.

Throwing a little light on DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), it’s a method of associating a domain name to an email, allowing a firm/organization to assume responsibility of messages that is validated by recipients. Validation is based on public-key cryptography. This allows mail transfer agents (MTAs) to sign email messages that pass through them — and to also verify a signature attached to an incoming email. These “signatures” — which use public key cryptography - are linked to domain names (as mentioned above), and then the public keys are published via DNS.

Reference: The IETF RFC Index at http://tools.ietf.org/rfc/index

Changes to WHOIS Query Behaviour

ARIN announces a pending change to Whois query behavior on port 43

Prior to 25 June 2011, a query for an IP address in the ARIN region would return with that assignment/allocation within the ARIN region, and a query in the ARIN region for an IP address with no assignment/allocation would result in a “no match” response. On 25 June 2011, a change was misapplied. The intent of this change was to return ARIN’s /8 for IP queries within ARIN’s region for which there is no assignment/allocation, a behavior meant to align ARIN’s Whois output with that of the other RIRs. However, this change introduced an unintended behavior of returning ARIN’s /8 (in addition to the desired results) in responses where IP addresses had been assigned or allocated. This change in behavior has created some confusion. On 2 October, ARIN will reinstate the previous behavior for Whois IP queries so that results are returned the way they were before 25 June. ARIN has provided two examples of a Whois query for reference: one with ARIN’s /8 returned in the result set hierarchy, and one without ARIN’s /8 returned in the result set.

Whois-RWS behavior will not change as it was not affected by the configuration change made on 25 June.

Reference: ARIN’s Announcement Archive

Updates at Hotmail’s Postmaster Pages:

I can’t accurately confirm exactly when they updated their postmaster pages, but I can say its recent. This was split into 2 areas — one for Sender Solutions, and the other for ISP Solutions.

Sender Solutions is an overview of useful services beneficial to senders. These cover stuff services like a postmaster page, SenderID, Return Path Sender Score Certified Email, Junk Email Reporting Program (JMRP), Smart Network Data Services (SNDS), and deliverability issues support.

ISP Solutions is an overview of useful services beneficial to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mailbox providers (MSPs). These also cover similar services like the Sender Solutions (with the exception of Return Path Sender Score Certified Email).

Hotmail’s Postmaster home page is at http://mail.live.com/mail/postmaster.aspx.

By Udeme Ukutt, Postmaster at Wish

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