The company released a module for its Sendmail e-mail server software that attempts to verify the source of messages to help Internet users block mail from unwanted senders. The technique is part of a developing Internet standard known as.
"What authenticating does is allow you to rely on who sent the message," said David Anderson, CEO of Sendmail, a maker of e-mail software. "We believe people will stop filtering out bad messages based on bad content and instead allow good messages with good senders."
The majority of e-mail carried across the Internet uses the open-source Sendmail program, which runs on the Linux and Unix operating systems. The new module for the program allows e-mail administrators to modify their systems and add the authentication technology. The e-mail server will then forward messages with the necessary Sender ID information and authenticate incoming e-mail messages using the system.
Sender ID is Internet Engineering Task Force, the technical group that sets Net standards.created from the system proposed by Microsoft and another antispam technology known as Sender Policy Framework that was , the founder of e-mail service Pobox.com. The specification has not been finalized by the
"We want to get this thing accepted, because it has the best functionality and shortest deployment time of any of the choices right now," Anderson said.
Sendmail is distributing a test version of the software to get enough companies onboard and gauge a computer's ability to authenticate e-mail messages in real time. Adding the authentication to an e-mail server slowed processing down by 8 percent for outbound traffic and 15 percent for inbound traffic, according to the Sendmail's testing site.
"The current focus is to try these authentication systems with real mail on real systems to determine if the approaches proposed are robust enough to survive in the current infrastructure," the company stated in a white paper on the topic.
The new modules can be downloaded from the Sendmail testing site.