Major tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft have teamed together to fight email phishing scams. Members say the partnership will lead to better email security and protect users and tech brands from fraudulent messages.
The group, which calls itself DMARC – for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance — says it wants to help reduce email abuse by standardizing how email receivers perform authentication. Now, email senders will get consistent authentication results for their messages at Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and any other email receiver using DMARC.
Email phishing scams are messages designed to trick recipients into providing personal information by replying to the messages or clicking on links. The emails look like they come from a legitimate sender, often featuring brand logos and mimicking the format and language of authentic messages.
With the rise of social media and e-commerce sites, spammers and phishers have "a tremendous financial incentive" to compromise user accounts, leading to theft of passwords, bank account information and credit card numbers, DMARC said.
"Email is easy to spoof and criminals have found spoofing to be a proven way to exploit user trust of well-known brands," the group said. "Simply inserting the logo of a well-known brand into an email gives it instant legitimacy with many users."
Other companies involved in DMARC include Bank of America, LinkedIn, PayPal and Yahoo.
– Andrea Chang
Image: Screen shot of the companies involved in DMARC. Credit: DMARC
British Telecommunications, better known as BT, has accused Google of infringing six of its patents in a lawsuit filed in the U.S.
The company — which has customers in more than 170 countries and offers land-line and mobile phone service as well as Internet TV and IT services — alleges in its suit that a number of Google products violate its patents, including Google's search engine, the Android mobile operating system and Android Market app store, Gmail, Google+, Google Books, Docs, Maps, Music, Places, Offers and advertising operations.
Google plans to fight the suit, saying in an emailed statement: "We believe these claims are groundless and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them."
The suit, which was first reported by the website Foss Patents and filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., didn't specify what sort of damages BT is looking for, but did ask for an injunction against the products it accuses of infringing its patents.
The six patents BT accuses Google of violating cover broad technologies, such as products that tailor what information they present based on the location a user is in, as well as how user location and profile information is stored and accessed.
The BT suit is one of many Google is grappling with. The tech giant is dealing with a patent battle against Oracle, a suit from EBay/PayPal and suits from Apple and Microsoft directed at Google's hardware partners.
– Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A Google sign outside the tech giant's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Clay McLachlan / Reuters