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Coronavirus Online Threats Going Viral, Part 4: Phishing

In part four of this series of posts looking at emerging internet content relating to coronavirus, we explore phishing. In times of crisis, cyber criminals invariably take advantage of the growing concerns of the public. In the case of the coronavirus, they have done so by sending phishing emails that play on the fears surrounding the spread of the illness. A number of reports have emerged of emails purporting to provide advice or assistance relating to COVID-19... more

Political Email Placement or, You’re Not Special

A recent piece in The Markup called Swinging the Vote? attempts to figure out how Google decides where to deliver political e-mail. They were startled to discover that only a small fraction of it was delivered into the main inbox, and a fair amount was classed as spam. They shouldn't have been. This is an example of the fallacy We're so nice that the rules don't apply to us, which is far too common among non-profit and political mailers. more

RIP Don Blumenthal

It is with a heavy heart that we note the passing of a dear friend, colleague and member of the CAUCE board of directors, Don Blumenthal, on September 28, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 67. Don was an anti-spammer for as long a there was an anti-spam community: he helped design, deploy and maintain the famous 'Spam Fridge,' the repository of junk email maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). more

Spam Is Never Timely Nor Relevant

One of the ongoing recommendations to improve deliverability is to send email that is timely and relevant to the recipient. The idea being that if you send mail a recipient wants, they're more likely to interact with it in a way that signals to the mailbox provider that the message is wanted. The baseline for that, at least whenever I've talked about timely and relevant, is that the recipient asked for mail from you in the first place. more

How Domain Data Helps Thwart BEC Fraud

It's true, domain data has many practical uses that individuals and organizations may or may not know about. But most would likely be interested in how it can help combat cyber threats, which have been identified as the greatest risks businesses will face this year. Dubbed as the greatest bane of most organizations today, cybersecurity can actually be enhanced with the help of domain data. How? more

Business Email Compromised (BEC) Scams Explode Under the GDPR Implementation

Business email compromised (BEC) attacks targeting American companies are exploding, with an increase of over 476% in incidents between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. Up as well is email fraud with companies experiencing an increase of over 226%. These highly targeted attacks use social engineering to identify specific company employees, usually in the finance department and then convince these employees to wire large sums of money to third-party banking accounts owned by the attackers. more

What Does It Mean to Deploy DMARC?

The IETF's DMARC working group is thinking about a maintenance update to the DMARC spec, fixing bits that are unclear and perhaps changing it where what mail servers do doesn't exactly agree with what it says. Someone noted that a lot of mailers claim to have "deployed DMARC," and it's not at all clear what that really means. ... I've suggested that we could write a DMARC deployment guide that describes the parts of DMARC, the ways they interact and in what sequence it's useful to deploy them. If you'd find that useful, leave a comment. more

Spamtraps Are Overblown… by Senders

One of the fascinating parts of my job is seeing how different groups in email have radically disparate points of view. A current example is how much value senders put on spamtraps compared to ISPs and filtering companies. I understand why this is. In all too many cases, when a sender asks why they're mail is going to bulk or being blocked, the answer is "you're hitting spamtraps." The thing is, spamtraps are almost never the only reason mail is being blocked. more

Who Played a Major Role in Advancing the Internet? Nominations Open for 2019 Internet Hall of Fame

Do you know someone who has played a major role in the development and advancement of the Internet? Now is the time to recognize their contribution. Nominate them for the 2019 Internet Hall of Fame. With more than 100 inductees, the Internet Hall of Fame celebrates Internet pioneers and innovators who have pushed the boundaries to bring the Internet to life and make it an essential resource for billions of people today. more

Why Foldering Adds Very Little Security

I keep hearing stories of people using "foldering" for covert communications. Foldering is the process of composing a message for another party, but instead of sending it as an email, you leave it in the Drafts folder. The other party then logs in to the same email account and reads the message; they can then reply via the same technique. Foldering has been used for a long time, most famously by then-CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer/lover Paula Broadwell. Why is foldering used? more