Yesterday Yahoo posted a statement about their new p=reject policy. Based on this statement I don’t expect Yahoo to be rolling back the policy any time soon. It seems it was incredibly effective at stopping spoofed Yahoo mail.
On Friday afternoon last week, Yahoo made a simple change to its DMARC policy from “report” to “reject”. In other words, we requested that all other mail services reject emails claiming to come from a Yahoo user, but not signed by Yahoo.
Yahoo is the first major email provider in the world to adopt this aggressive level of DMARC policy on behalf of our users.
And overnight, the bad guys who have used email spoofing to forge emails and launch phishing attempts pretending to come from a Yahoo Mail account were nearly stopped in their tracks.
There is a regrettable, short-term impact to our more aggressive position on DMARC. Many legitimate emails sent on behalf of Yahoo Mail customers from third parties are also being rejected. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Given the effectiveness of this policy, I would not be surprised to see other free mail providers (Gmail, Hotmail, AOL) or other ISPs to adopt this policy in the coming months. This is a shift in how many of us are used to using email, particularly personal email. But, as Yahoo says, times have changed and it’s time to take those painful actions that will increase our security.
In addition to making a public statement, Yahoo also published a number of things that senders (i.e., email intermediaries) can do to still handle email from Yahoo addresses as they are sent through different infrastructures. Many of these recommendations for senders are things that are already in process at most ESPs and mailing lists.
This seemingly simple policy statement is a revolutionary step in addressing issues of forgery and spam that many people have been discussing and arguing about for more than 10 years. This is a painful change for many people, Yahoo and non-Yahoo users alike. Luckily, the internet community has stepped up and implemented the changes that will make mail work even with a restrictive policy like p=reject. Now that mailing lists and ESPs are taking the steps to accommodate this policy change I expect to see other ISPs follow Yahoo’s lead and start publishing p=reject policies. Luckily for them Yahoo was first, so the impact on their users and mailing list managers should be much lower than we’ve been dealing with the last week.