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email sender is a specification for verifying the authenticity of e-mail by ensuring the validity of the server from which the e-mail came. While the purpose of curbing junk mail may be laudable, the debate on how to stop the tide of junk mail is still ongoing. According to Microsoft, up to 90 percent of e-mail is spam. Critics say Sender ID, which includes technology developed by Microsoft, is not an accepted standard and has many shortcomings. Also, there are technologies that compete with Sender ID, such as Yahoo's DomainKeys. "We think Microsoft is trying to strong-arm the industry into the adoption of an incomplete and not accepted standard," said Dave Rand, chief technologist for Internet content security at security software company Trend Micro. Microsoft's move increases pressure on email sender to adopt Sender ID. The technology requires Internet service providers, companies and other Internet domain holders to publish so-called SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records to identify their mail servers. About 1 million domains currently publish SPF records, Microsoft said. That's far from the 71.4 million registered domains worldwide at the end of last year. Still, because some large email senders such as AOL support Sender ID, about 30 percent of e-mail today carries Sender ID information, according to e-mail filtering company MessageLabs. Criticism for the technology Sender ID has not been a success because it is not very highly regarded, said Ray Everett-Church, co-founder of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail and co-author of the book "Fighting Spam for Dummies." "Microsoft has been trying to shove Sender ID down the throats of the Internet community for several years now, to little effect," he said. Microsoft's unilateral move may hurt Internet users, he said. "Sender ID isn't widely deployed, meaning that average users are now at risk for having their legitimate e-mail tagged as spam when they send messages to Hotmail users." Experts say one of the problems with Sender ID is that it doesn't work with email sender. The basic premise of Sender ID is to check if an e-mail that claims to be coming from a certain Internet domain is really being sent from the e-mail servers associated with that domain. Fortunately, authenticated e-mail helps both senders and recipients. To the sender, the most important benefit is the improved deliverability of e-mail. If you send out a mass mailing and it doesn't reach the intended recipients because it has been blocked as spam, you have wasted your money. Both false positives and false negatives work against legitimate senders of e-mail. E-mail that fails the test is junked or deleted, or a warning may be sent to the recipient, leaving the choice in his hands. The average consumer benefits from authenticated e-mail when mailbox providers use the technology in conjunction with spam-fighting processes. These techniques increase the reliability See the HP Proliant DL380 G5 Server with Systems Insight Manager – Click here. of legitimate e-mail, and make the illegitimate e-mail easier to target and reject. Adopting Sender ID or any other technology requires time and money, Penn said. "Company budgets are on a yearly cycle, and most of them have no money for such a project this year," he said. Microsoft argues that publishing SPF records is simple. It usually does not require new hardware or software and the most arduous part is doing an inventory of mail servers and the subsequent maintenance of the record, Spiezle said. Is identity theft on the rise, or is it a problem that has been vastly overhyped? Recent email sender of lost or stolen laptops have focused public attention on the huge amount of personal information that can very easily make its way outside the control of corporate IT. However, in spite of so many incidents involving hundreds of thousands of individuals, it is not clear that the lost or stolen information was actually used for gain.