Fighting phishing: Facebook friends Google, Microsoft

Facebook has teamed up with Google, Microsoft, and 11 other companies to fight phishing. Over the last 18 months, they have been developing standards to reduce deceptive e-mails.

Facebook is a solid partner with Microsoft; just last year the duo launched multiple initiatives and new features. On the other hand, they are also competitors: Facebook is quickly gaining on Microsoft in terms of advertising market share. As for Facebook and Google, well, the two are constantly at each other's throats, although they have been on the same side in the past: if you want a very recent example, just look at their stances on SOPA.

It therefore shouldn't be too big of a surprise to learn Facebook today teamed up with e-mail titans Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to fight phishing. In fact, it's not just those four: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is a technical specification created by 14 companies that want to help reduce the potential for e-mail-based abuse by solving a couple of long-standing operational, deployment, and reporting issues related to e-mail authentication protocols.

As you can see in the picture above, the technical working group consists of the following "leading e-mail service and technology providers": Agari, American Greetings, AOL, Bank of America, Cloudmark, Facebook, Fidelity, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal, ReturnPath, Yahoo, and Trusted Domain Project. They have been developing standards for reducing the threat of deceptive e-mails, such as spam and phishing, for the last 18 months.

The group's work includes a draft specification that helps create a feedback loop between legitimate e-mail senders and receivers to make impersonation more difficult for phishers trying to send fraudulent e-mail. By introducing a standards-based framework, DMARC has defined a more comprehensive and integrated way for e-mail senders to introduce e-mail authentication technologies into their infrastructure. After gathering data and input from field usage of the technology, DMARC intends to submit its specification to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for standardization.

In short, Facebook may have rivals, competitors, and even nemeses. Nevertheless, the social networking giant won't let those get in the way of its various interests.

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