November 15, 2004 6:21 AM PST

Yahoo takes on spam, boosts e-mail storage

Yahoo on Monday said it has begun attaching antispam technology to all of its outgoing e-mails, hoping that other providers will follow suit.

Messages from its free e-mail service will include a "DomainKey," a system that creates a digital signature for outgoing e-mail and then lets receivers verify that the message comes from where it claims. The technology tries to thwart spam "phishing" attacks in which messages pretend to originate from a familiar address and then launch viruses or social engineering hacks when opened.

The changes won't be noticeable to the Yahoo Mail user, since DomainKeys are resolved in Yahoo's servers and network infrastructure.

Users "simply use Yahoo Mail and get the benefit of knowing that we use DomainKeys to prevent attacks," said Brad Garlinghouse, vice president of communications products at Yahoo.

Yahoo has talked up DomainKeys as a powerful weapon against spam, for the system to work, but outgoing and incoming e-mail services must use the keys. So far, Yahoo has picked up endorsements from EarthLink and archrival Google. But the biggest e-mail providers, America Online and Microsoft, remain in the wings.

AOL and Microsoft have said they're looking at DomainKeys, but the providers are pushing their own antispam and e-mail authentication technologies. AOL's SPF and Microsoft's Sender ID check an e-mail's identity through its Internet Protocol address, and can be used alongside DomainKeys.

Yahoo and Microsoft have filed with the Internet Engineering Task Force for their technologies to become standards. Meng Wong, SPF author and chief technology officer of, filed for standardization with the IETF as well.

Up to their ears in storage
Also on Monday, Yahoo introduced yet another storage upgrade to its e-mail service, this time to 250MB, up from a boost to 100MB in June. Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail have made such moves following Google's entry into the free e-mail business with Gmail, which launched in beta form with 1GB of free in-box storage.

Until that point, Yahoo and Hotmail offered 4MB and 2MB of free storage, respectively, and charged fees for people requesting extra space.

In addition, Yahoo said Monday it will increase the attachment limit for its premium subscribers to 20MB, while free e-mail users will get 10MB.


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One small correction.
Gmail still has not yet launched, and I know we all love to cheer on Google, but you have to understand that it is easier to start a service offering large amounts of storage space than it is to upgrade the storage for millions of users. It is a much cheaper initial investment for Google and they have less to lose if the idea is not a big success.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
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DomainKeys and SenderID do not mean "the end of spam"
Sender authentication is vital to ensure that people can trust the authenticity of email senders -- which is something that, with the help of Email client software, will make Phishing harder.

But sender authentication does not mean the end of spam. Recent research in fact shows that spammers use sender authentication 20 times more frequently than legitimate senders.

The only way to completely get rid of spam is to hide from spammers by using a multiple-persona management system like MailChannels ( Of course, filtering could be an option too, but only for people who can stand to lose messages once in a while.
Posted by ttul (34 comments )
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What about challenge-response?
It also seemed to me that this was the only effective
solution since all spam is automated and a challenge
would be ignored. I understand that mail lists might
initially be clogged but this would be a small price
to pay. Why is there resistance to this method? Is
it so hard for people to implement? Such a simple
and ellegant solution is the only guaranteed way to
stop spam.
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
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small price to pay
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by George Cole (314 comments )
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Wait a minute
How will this affect those of us who purchased yahoo pop3 and use Outlook and is required to use their isp to send their emails with the yahoo returned address?
Posted by renegade600 (105 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yahoo mail upgrade ?
so where is the yahoo mail upgrade to 250mb? it,s still 100mb.
Posted by himitch52 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think you are also asking when Y! will give its users the next upgrade...?
Posted by mahip17 (1 comment )
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