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Author: steve

TLS certificates and CAA records

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is what gives you the little padlock in your browser bar. Some people still call it SSL, but TLS has been around for 18 years –  it’s time to move on. TLS provides two things. One is encryption of traffic as it goes across the wire, the other is a cryptographic […]

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FTC solicits CAN-SPAM feedback

The FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) is soliciting comments on CAN-SPAM legislation: A. General Issues 1. Is there a continuing need for the Rule? Why or why not? 2. What benefits has the Rule provided to consumers? What evidence supports the asserted benefits? 3. What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rule to […]

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DMARC doesn’t fix Phishing

Not a new thing, but a nice example just popped up in my inbox on my phone.   But FedEx solved their entire phishing problem when they published a strict p=reject DMARC record, right? This didn’t come from fedex.com. It came from another domain that looks vaguely like fedex.com – what that domain is doesn’t matter, as the […]

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Final migration of Verizon email addresses to AOL

AOL were kind enough to share some details about the shutdown of the Verizon mail system and the migration of @verizon.net email address to the AOL mail service: What is the cut-over date for the verizon.net MX record? The cut-over date for the mx record for verizon.net to to be handled by AOL is June […]

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Are they using DKIM?

It’s easy to tell if a domain is using SPF – look up the TXT record for the domain and see if any of them begin with “v=spf1”. If one does, they’re using SPF. If none do, they’re not. (If more than one does? They’re publishing invalid SPF.) AOL are publishing SPF. Geocities aren’t. For DKIM […]

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Protocol-relative URLs in email

When you link to an external resource – an image, a javascript file, some css style – from a web page you do so with a URL, usually something like “https://example.com/blahblah.css” or “http://example.com/blahblah.css”. The world is beginning to go all https, all the time, but until recently good practice was to make a web page available […]

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ARC: Authenticated Received Chain

On Friday I talked a little about DMARC being a negative assertion rather than an authentication method, and also about how and when it could be deployed without causing problems. Today, how DMARC went wrong and a partial fix for it that is coming down the standards pipeline. What breaks? DMARC (with p=reject) risks causing problems any […]

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The philosophy of DMARC

We know that legitimate email sent with valid SPF and a DKIM signature often breaks in transit. SPF will fail any time mail is forwarded – via a mailing list, a forwarding service used by the recipient, or just ad-hoc forwarding. DKIM will fail any time the message is modified in transit. That can be obviously […]

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You’re kidding me

All the authentication and DMARC in the world can’t save you from stupid. I just got a survey request from my bank. Or, at least, it claimed to be from my bank. From: Barclays International Banking Survey <internationalbanking@barclayssurveys.com> The mail passed SPF (though the SPF record suggests this is being mailed from all over the […]

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… and bad acquisition practices

I talked last week about how incentivizing people to sign up for your mailing list could be effective when it’s done well. This week I’m staying at a Large International Hotel Chain and I’ve got a great example of what happens when it’s done poorly. The “free” wifi requires you to join the hotel’s loyalty […]

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  • OTA joins the ISOC

    The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) announced today they were joining forces with the Internet Society (ISOC). Starting in May, they will operate as an initiative under the ISOC umbrella. “The Internet Society and OTA share the belief that trust is the key issue in defining the future value of the Internet,” said Internet Society President and CEO, Kathryn Brown. “Now is the right time for these two organizations to come together to help build user trust in the Internet. At a time when cyber-attacks and identity theft are on the rise, this partnership will help improve security and data privacy for users,” added Brown.No Comments


  • Friday blogging... or lack of it

    It seems the last few Friday's I've been lax on posting. Some of that is just by Friday I'm frantically trying to complete all my client deliverables before the weekend. The rest of it is by Friday I'm just tired. Today had the added complication of watching the Trumpcare debate and following how (and how soon) it would affect my company if it passed. That's been a bit distracting, along with the other stuff I posted about yesterday. I wish everyone a great weekend.1 Comment


  • Indictments in Yahoo data breach

    Today the US government unsealed an indictment against 2 Russian agents and 2 hackers for breaking into Yahoo's servers and stealing personal information. The information gathered during the hack was used to target government officials, security employees and private individuals. Email is so central to our online identity. Compromise an email account and you can get access to social media, and other accounts. Email is the key to the kingdom.No Comments


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