SMTP in a Spam-ridden world

CNET News.com has a well researched article on whether this is the End of the road for SMTP in a world that is deluged with Spam.

Some interesting quotes…

“The flaws are so severe, some now believe, that the protocol that gave rise to the most significant explosion in written communication since Gutenberg may no longer be capable of serving its purpose in a world of con artists, pornographers, virus authors and unscrupulous spammers.”

Ouch!

“Some say rewriting SMTP from the ground up would be prohibitively difficult because of the protocol’s global user base, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.”

“Proposals requiring a change to desktop mail software are even harder to deploy.”

CloudMark’s SpamNet has worked well for me, but I agree that the focus should be more at the server and protocol level.

Susan Sluizer, who co-authored the 1981 Mail Transport Protocol, SMTP’s direct predecessor, “counters this by suggesting two protocols–SMTP and a new one, with tighter authentication–could easily coexist, with e-mail applications supporting both side by side. In that way, people using one protocol would not be prevented from exchanging mail with those using another.”

Although…

“Microsoft, for example, advocates a change to the domain name system (DNS) that would make it harder for spammers to disguise their identity.”

“The “minor enhancement” Microsoft is preparing to release would let individuals, companies and other organizations publish the identification numbers of their mail servers in the DNS database.”

“Microsoft–with its Hotmail Web mail service, its MSN mail service, and others under its control–could single-handedly give such a system a sizeable implementation boost.”

“Harry Katz, program manager of Microsoft’s Exchange server group, warned that, in the rush to fix e-mail, the industry risks harming the openness that gave rise to the Internet’s success in the first place.”

Indeed.