The key to stopping SPAM appears to be ensuring that the senders of all
e-mail can be positively identified. Today's e-mail protocols, though
elegant by design and simplicity, are, unfortunately, naively trusting.
They contain few mechanisms for guaranteeing the identity of a sender.
It's this abuse of trust that has been responsible for the most amount
of SPAM. Cut out falsely identified e-mail and you'll rip out most of
SPAM. Then, legislative and consumer initiatives will be able to tackle
the rest of the problem.
So, what's on the technology horizon? You're probably already familiar with inbox spam rules, Bayesian filters, regular expressions, white and blacklists, habeas and challenge-response models. They're all good, but none of them really tackle the problem of solving the false identity issue. And, worse yet, spammers are getting really good at developing tools that evade these products and tools.
That's where things like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Reverse MX (RMX), e-mail Caller-ID, and similar models show promise. Most of them are designed to sit on top of our existing protocols, support gradual adoption, and work hard at making it very difficult to falsely identify e-mail sources.
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