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Mobile

  • This document is not legal advice. M3AAWG strongly suggests that readers work with their company’s legal counsel or avail themselves of independent legal advice regarding their rights, responsibilities and obligations relevant to prevailing legal jurisdictions.

  • Received email may not be handled only by a human. It may be partially or even fully handled by a software program. The purpose of this document is to offer guidance to marketing and sales staff about the way that nonhuman interactions (NHI, also known as “automated clicks”) affect the performance metrics of their email messages and reporting systems. This document is not intended to solve issues, but rather to provide insights into the effects of NHI and offer some best practices for senders.

  • The objectives of this document are to help maximize the successful delivery of wanted political text messages and minimize the incidence of unwanted and/or abusive political text messaging, while ensuring that the rights of all participants in political processes are respected. This document defines best practices that promote trust, transparency and collaboration among ecosystem providers.

  • When preparing for bulk or transactional email sending, two items require special attention: outbound IP addresses, and the domain names to be used for these communications. For the latter, ESPs (Email Service Providers) go through this set-up process frequently and have to review the same readiness checklist each time. This process may involve individual client preferences and constraints, both legal and technical.

  • This paper provides basic information on the benefits and potential issues with encrypting DNS traffic for both end-users wanting to implement encrypted DNS on their personal devices or home broadband networks and for ISPs or enterprise administrators considering it for their corporate networks, including recommendations for M3AAWG members and the online anti-abuse eco-system. The companion document “M3AAWG Companion Document: Recipes for Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic” provides detailed instructions and processes.

  • This paper includes detailed instructions on how to install and configure a third party encrypted DNS service on Mac OS X, MS Windows, iPhone, Android and a standalone Raspberry Pi.  It is a companion document to the “M3AAWG Tutorial on Third Party Recursive Resolvers and Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic,” which outlines the benefits and issues with encrypting DNS traffic.

  • This document identifies a minimum set of security requirements that should be specified when ISPs purchase customer premise equipment to ensure that the CPE has a secure default configuration and a secure remote management and update mechanism. These joint best practices were developed by LACNOG (Latin American and Caribbean Network Operators Group) and M3AAWG, and is the product of LACNOG's original drafts by its working groups LAC-AAWG (Latin American and Caribbean Anti-Abuse Working Group) and BCOP Working Group, in cooperation with M3AAWG members, Senior Technical Advisors and the M3AAWG Technical Committee.

  • Most users struggle to manage a large number of usernames and passwords.  While password managers have both proponents and detractors, these recommendations reflect the general consensus of the industry.

  • Passwords are used virtually everywhere.  This document provides password requirement recommendations for ISPs and other providers and briefly describes the risk model of using passwords to provide authorized or secure access to resources. It aims to improve end-user security by encouraging strong passwords.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment. Updated August 2015.

  • Written in plain language by M3AAWG and the London Action Plan (LAP), Operation Safety-Net outlines the current and emerging threats faced by consumers, businesses and governments with recommended best practices to address these threats. For a brief overview of the document, see the brochure explaining the global depth and breadth of these best practices in the Supporting Documents section from the For the Industry menu tab.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment.

  • Honeypots are a proven technology used for detecting and understanding online threats that also can be used to fight telephony spam. This document was written to facilitate and encourage telephony honeypot development, as well as the use and sharing of information about and from those honeypots. It includes an overview of the benefits of such honeypots and also provides details of the various options that exist for setting them up.

  • Provides guidance for system operators, network designers, security professionals and Internet Service Providers about potential issues associated with Large Scale Network Address Translation systems. 

  • Note:  This M3AAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

    Note:  This MAAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

Messaging

  • This document is not legal advice. M3AAWG strongly suggests that readers work with their company’s legal counsel or avail themselves of independent legal advice regarding their rights, responsibilities and obligations relevant to prevailing legal jurisdictions.

  • There are a number of scenarios in which senders may be required or compelled to send a bulk message despite the fact that such messages are highly likely to exhibit poor delivery metrics such as increased bounces or complaints. These messages are not intended to be used for standard marketing or transactional notices; these are the exceptions to the rule. Prominent examples of high-risk sends would be items such as breach notifications, product recalls, health and safety notices, or other notifications that might need to be sent to individuals who have been previously been suppressed or unsubscribed.

  • Received email may not be handled only by a human. It may be partially or even fully handled by a software program. The purpose of this document is to offer guidance to marketing and sales staff about the way that nonhuman interactions (NHI, also known as “automated clicks”) affect the performance metrics of their email messages and reporting systems. This document is not intended to solve issues, but rather to provide insights into the effects of NHI and offer some best practices for senders.

  • This document recommends a set of best practices for authenticating email messages using the security protocols Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) DMARC and Authenticated Received Chain (ARC). (Another security protocol, SMTP authentication, meaning the presentation of credentials during the submission of a message by a Mail User Agent (MUA) or Mail Submission Agent (MSA) to a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) serves a different purpose and is outside the scope of this document.)

  • M3AAWG, the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Initial Report of the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Phase 2 Expedited Policy Development Process (https://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/epdp-phase-2-initial-07feb20-en.pdf). 

  • The Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) welcomes the opportunity to review the draft report from ICANN’s Security Stability and Resiliency Review Team (Two).

  • When preparing for bulk or transactional email sending, two items require special attention: outbound IP addresses, and the domain names to be used for these communications. For the latter, ESPs (Email Service Providers) go through this set-up process frequently and have to review the same readiness checklist each time. This process may involve individual client preferences and constraints, both legal and technical.

  • This paper provides basic information on the benefits and potential issues with encrypting DNS traffic for both end-users wanting to implement encrypted DNS on their personal devices or home broadband networks and for ISPs or enterprise administrators considering it for their corporate networks, including recommendations for M3AAWG members and the online anti-abuse eco-system. The companion document “M3AAWG Companion Document: Recipes for Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic” provides detailed instructions and processes.

  • This paper includes detailed instructions on how to install and configure a third party encrypted DNS service on Mac OS X, MS Windows, iPhone, Android and a standalone Raspberry Pi.  It is a companion document to the “M3AAWG Tutorial on Third Party Recursive Resolvers and Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic,” which outlines the benefits and issues with encrypting DNS traffic.

  • It is the position of M3AAWG that third-party email list sales and purchases are abusive practices and that sending to purchased lists is also abusive, whether B2C, B2B or another objective.

  • This document identifies a minimum set of security requirements that should be specified when ISPs purchase customer premise equipment to ensure that the CPE has a secure default configuration and a secure remote management and update mechanism. These joint best practices were developed by LACNOG (Latin American and Caribbean Network Operators Group) and M3AAWG, and is the product of LACNOG's original drafts by its working groups LAC-AAWG (Latin American and Caribbean Anti-Abuse Working Group) and BCOP Working Group, in cooperation with M3AAWG members, Senior Technical Advisors and the M3AAWG Technical Committee.

  • To minimize the risk of active DKIM keys being compromised, they should be changed frequently. This document was updated in March 2019 and discusses why keys should be rotated, how frequently they should be rotated, and suggests the best common practices for doing so.

  • Outlining practices used during trial evaluations of messaging anti-abuse products or services, this document provides recommendations on processes and techniques to accurately determine a particular solution’s effectiveness. The March 2019 version includes recommendations affected by newer technology, such as cloud services, and other updates.

  • A discussion on improving non-deliverability status notices to better identify abuse issues, this document has been updated with minor changes for clarity and to simplify the text.

  • Cyber criminals are increasingly turning to Web-based messaging systems to transmit their content. Yet, there are many techniques to prevent or mitigate these attacks and this document details the Best Common Practices for protecting these messaging systems.  This Version 1.1 has been updated additional suggestions for managing the collection, storage and indenxing of data, a new section on multifactor authentication and other changes.

  • Flow Specification (Flowspec) is a new type of Network Layer Reachability Information (NLRI) for the BGP routing protocol. It was originally developed to help mitigate DDoS attacks but its use has expanded to numerous other applications.

  • In marketing terms, “appending” – also known as "e-appending" or "e-pending" – is the practice of taking demographic information known (or assumed) to be related to a particular customer and matching it with other data. It is the position of M3AAWG that this is an abusive messaging practice.  The January 2019 Version 1.0.1 is updated to include the European Union's GDPR and CASL.

  • Phishing continues to be a significant problem for hosting companies, mailbox providers, brand owners and, of course, for every internet user. This document iinforms all of these groups on the best current practices for reporting phishing URLs.

  • This document focuses on defining malicious domain names and provides a non-exhaustive list of possible actions that can be taken to address them.

  • Although M3AAWG recommends blocking outbound port 25 traffic as the best option for controlling the flow of unwanted email traffic from an ISP’s customer space, such blocks may not always be possible, either for the short or long term. This document offers some alternatives for these ISPs by describing methods they can use to share their dynamic space information with others and allow remote sites to reject inbound mail traffic from dynamic address space.

  • Updated in March 2018, this document addresses problems associated with compromised user accounts. It discusses mitigation techniques and methods of identifying compromised accounts, including recommendations to ensure the long-term security of accounts to prevent “re-compromise.”

  • Nearly all email systems, including those of Email Sender Providers and network operators, at some point have delivery issues because their sending IPs or domains are on a blocklist. This document shares established procedures defining how to triage and respond to a blocklisting to assist in a timely and effective resolution.  Version 1.0.1 was updated in February 2018.

  • Over a thousand new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) have been, or are in, the process of being created under ICANN’s new gTLD program.  This paper is written for current Registry operators and for companies interested in applying for new gTLDs, and outlines the risks and some relatively simple recommendations that can help correct these problems.

  • Email abuse rates can significantly affect a sender’s reputation and, consequently, its ability to deliver customers’ emails to the inbox. This paper explains some of the common processes senders can use to effectively manage and monitor email complaints and to help their customers, who are the list owners, develop healthy email practices that generate better results.
    of email lists.

  • Many list web forms provoke an email confirmation to the subscriber's email address provided in the form but malicious entities are now using this feature to do bulk form submissions with forged addresses that flood the subscriber’s inbox. M3AAWG members collaborated across the industry to propose a header as an initial step that hosting and sending companies can implement to help protect against these attacks. The header allows receivers to identify floods of mail coming from sign-up forms that are bombarding victim mailboxes.

  • This document covers best practices on how to properly construct and maintain an SPF record, common errors and some unintended consequences.  It is targeted at those with a basic understanding of the purpose and usage of SPF.

  • Due to disclosed vulnerabilities associated with the use of short DKIM keys, organizations should review their DKIM email authentication implementation based on these best practices updated in July 2017.  Also see a short video on this issue at the M3AAWG YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/maawg).

  • Most users struggle to manage a large number of usernames and passwords.  While password managers have both proponents and detractors, these recommendations reflect the general consensus of the industry.

  • This document describes the budget and other costs associated with using cryptography to help make informed decisions when deploying encryption.

  • Distributed Denial of Service attacks continue to be a major concern. This guide helps businesses prepare for DDoS attacks and, as a side benefit, some of these same techniques can also help businesses that suddenly see a large increase in legitimate customer web traffic.

  • Passwords are used virtually everywhere.  This document provides password requirement recommendations for ISPs and other providers and briefly describes the risk model of using passwords to provide authorized or secure access to resources. It aims to improve end-user security by encouraging strong passwords.

  • While passwords are the default solution for securing users' accounts today, they have many shortcomings and most can be easily cracked.  M3AAWG believes the time has come for providers to require multifactor authentication, instead of simple passwords, to enhance protection of services with a history or substantial risk of account compromise. 

  • Updated in August 2016 as Version 1.2.0, this document is for spamtrap operators who generally use data generated from spamtraps for purposes such as research, evidence collection, infected machine mitigation or mail list leakage and list quality control.

  • WHOIS information plays a key role in determining where to report instances of abuse involving domain names. This paper explains some of the important WHOIS elements used to fight spam, phishing, malware distribution and other threats.

  • M3AAWG outlines the key characteristics of traffic analysis attacks, discusses potential ways to avoid them, and considers the advantages and disadvantages of deploying preventative measures.

  • With the advent of International Domain Names, Internationalized Top-Level Domains and Email Address Internationalization there will be an increase in the legitimate usage of Unicode characters and an increase in the potential for its abuse as well. This document provides best practices to curtail the potential Unicode abuse.

  • Provides background on the use of Unicode characters in the abuse context with a tutorial on the options to curtail that abuse.

  • Opportunistic encryption is one step in protecting email traffic between messaging providers but it might not be sufficient unless forward secrecy is also employed for the connection. This document explains why forward secrecy is necessary and provides guidance for implementing it.

  • Many organizations and individuals register “parked” domains not meant to either send or receive email traffic. Mailbox providers can authenticate incoming email from these domains quite effectively, provided such domains have the necessary identifiers. This best practices document describes what identifiers can be used to indicate a domain or subdomain that is not meant to send or receive emails. The December 2015 version updates some industry links that changed.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment. Updated August 2015.

  • Even though opportunistic encryption protects messages during transmission from sender to receiver, it is still possible for a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacker with a self-signed certificate to impersonate the intended destination. This brief document describes the MITM situation, outlines various methods bad actors can use to conduct MITM attacks, covers components for deterring these attacks and introduces DANE (DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities), a new technology to assist messaging providers in validating they are communicating with an intended destination when using SSL/TLS.

  • This document was jointly developed by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and M3AAWG with technical and business practices to help ISPs and mailbox providers thwart phishing attacks and other malevolent network abuses.  It also includes practices to respond constructively when these attacks occur. Version 2.01 updates the anti-phishing best practices originally published in 2006.

  • Written in plain language by M3AAWG and the London Action Plan (LAP), Operation Safety-Net outlines the current and emerging threats faced by consumers, businesses and governments with recommended best practices to address these threats. For a brief overview of the document, see the brochure explaining the global depth and breadth of these best practices in the Supporting Documents section from the For the Industry menu tab.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment.

  • System abuse drains time and revenue for hosting and cloud providers, who must maintain constant vigilance to make sure their systems are not compromised and ensure that their customers are vigilant. This document categorizes types of abuse, suggests appropriate responses and reviews practices for dealing with customers and complaints. It provides current best common practices in use with the hosting, DNS and domain registration provider communities.

  • These updated best practices outline the criteria for exit, entry, remediation and subscriber education when using a walled garden to remediate virus and bot infections in subscriber devices.

  • Forwarding is quite popular among users who have multiple email accounts they prefer to manage centrally. This updated M3AAWG best practices document includes measures that can be adopted by email volume forwarders and the receivers of forwarded email to mitigate spam-related concerns specific to forwarding email addresses.

  • This document gives an overview of the current best common practices for sending commercial electronic messaging, focusing on the technical and practical policy aspects of these operations. The goal of these practices is to promote and enhance the transparency of senders maintaining legitimate messaging so that both individual recipients and mailbox providers are more easily able to distinguish legitimate messaging from messaging abuse.

  • When email authentication mechanisms are applied, both the originating and receiving systems are able to correctly and reliably validate who is accountable for the message. This paper describes authentication techniques to aid in protecting business’ brands from forgery and phishing attacks and is intended for a general readership that has basic familiarity with Internet mail service. The Executive Summary also provides a one-page overview that can be used independently.

  • M3AAWG recommends three basic measures, including turning on opportunistic TLS, that messaging providers can implement relatively quickly to enhance the security and privacy of their users’ mail.

  • In this paper, M3AAWG identifies some IPv6 anti-spam issues, provides recommendations to reduce abuse and offers an initial list of requirements for further technical work to address concerns within the broader Internet technical community.

  • Honeypots are a proven technology used for detecting and understanding online threats that also can be used to fight telephony spam. This document was written to facilitate and encourage telephony honeypot development, as well as the use and sharing of information about and from those honeypots. It includes an overview of the benefits of such honeypots and also provides details of the various options that exist for setting them up.

  • Just as speaking a common language allows two people to communicate effectively, standards that define the format of abuse reports and the destination address for them increase the effectiveness of network owners in fighting abusive traffic.

  • Provides guidance for system operators, network designers, security professionals and Internet Service Providers about potential issues associated with Large Scale Network Address Translation systems. 

  • ESPs take on significant risk every time a new customer sends email. A bad client can undermine the sending reputation for the ESP’s other clients as well as inflict abuse at recipient domains. This paper reviews some vetting practices to avoid these problems.

  • This paper briefly discusses how an DNS attack works, the impact of this threat, proposes a solution and discusses the advantages and disadvantages from a technical, business and regulatory standpoint

  • Note:  This M3AAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

    Note:  This MAAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

  • A summary of the most effective abuse desk best practices from MAAWG service providers

  • Recommendations include blocking unauthorized access to and from port 25, requiring authentication, and aggregating email traffic through a SMTP server that is controlled by the service provider

  • Outlines a voluntary set of principles for messaging system operators that discourages bulk messaging abuse of peer-to-peer messaging platforms

Best Practices

  • This document is not legal advice. M3AAWG strongly suggests that readers work with their company’s legal counsel or avail themselves of independent legal advice regarding their rights, responsibilities and obligations relevant to prevailing legal jurisdictions.

  • There are a number of scenarios in which senders may be required or compelled to send a bulk message despite the fact that such messages are highly likely to exhibit poor delivery metrics such as increased bounces or complaints. These messages are not intended to be used for standard marketing or transactional notices; these are the exceptions to the rule. Prominent examples of high-risk sends would be items such as breach notifications, product recalls, health and safety notices, or other notifications that might need to be sent to individuals who have been previously been suppressed or unsubscribed.

  • Received email may not be handled only by a human. It may be partially or even fully handled by a software program. The purpose of this document is to offer guidance to marketing and sales staff about the way that nonhuman interactions (NHI, also known as “automated clicks”) affect the performance metrics of their email messages and reporting systems. This document is not intended to solve issues, but rather to provide insights into the effects of NHI and offer some best practices for senders.

  • This document recommends a set of best practices for authenticating email messages using the security protocols Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) DMARC and Authenticated Received Chain (ARC). (Another security protocol, SMTP authentication, meaning the presentation of credentials during the submission of a message by a Mail User Agent (MUA) or Mail Submission Agent (MSA) to a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) serves a different purpose and is outside the scope of this document.)

  • The objectives of this document are to help maximize the successful delivery of wanted political text messages and minimize the incidence of unwanted and/or abusive political text messaging, while ensuring that the rights of all participants in political processes are respected. This document defines best practices that promote trust, transparency and collaboration among ecosystem providers.

  • M3AAWG, the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Initial Report of the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Phase 2 Expedited Policy Development Process (https://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/epdp-phase-2-initial-07feb20-en.pdf). 

  • The Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) welcomes the opportunity to review the draft report from ICANN’s Security Stability and Resiliency Review Team (Two).

  • When preparing for bulk or transactional email sending, two items require special attention: outbound IP addresses, and the domain names to be used for these communications. For the latter, ESPs (Email Service Providers) go through this set-up process frequently and have to review the same readiness checklist each time. This process may involve individual client preferences and constraints, both legal and technical.

  • This paper provides basic information on the benefits and potential issues with encrypting DNS traffic for both end-users wanting to implement encrypted DNS on their personal devices or home broadband networks and for ISPs or enterprise administrators considering it for their corporate networks, including recommendations for M3AAWG members and the online anti-abuse eco-system. The companion document “M3AAWG Companion Document: Recipes for Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic” provides detailed instructions and processes.

  • This paper includes detailed instructions on how to install and configure a third party encrypted DNS service on Mac OS X, MS Windows, iPhone, Android and a standalone Raspberry Pi.  It is a companion document to the “M3AAWG Tutorial on Third Party Recursive Resolvers and Encrypting DNS Stub Resolver-to-Recursive Resolver Traffic,” which outlines the benefits and issues with encrypting DNS traffic.

  • It is the position of M3AAWG that third-party email list sales and purchases are abusive practices and that sending to purchased lists is also abusive, whether B2C, B2B or another objective.

  • This document identifies a minimum set of security requirements that should be specified when ISPs purchase customer premise equipment to ensure that the CPE has a secure default configuration and a secure remote management and update mechanism. These joint best practices were developed by LACNOG (Latin American and Caribbean Network Operators Group) and M3AAWG, and is the product of LACNOG's original drafts by its working groups LAC-AAWG (Latin American and Caribbean Anti-Abuse Working Group) and BCOP Working Group, in cooperation with M3AAWG members, Senior Technical Advisors and the M3AAWG Technical Committee.

  • Cyber criminals are increasingly turning to Web-based messaging systems to transmit their content. Yet, there are many techniques to prevent or mitigate these attacks and this document details the Best Common Practices for protecting these messaging systems.  This Version 1.1 has been updated additional suggestions for managing the collection, storage and indenxing of data, a new section on multifactor authentication and other changes.

  • To minimize the risk of active DKIM keys being compromised, they should be changed frequently. This document was updated in March 2019 and discusses why keys should be rotated, how frequently they should be rotated, and suggests the best common practices for doing so.

  • A discussion on improving non-deliverability status notices to better identify abuse issues, this document has been updated with minor changes for clarity and to simplify the text.

  • Outlining practices used during trial evaluations of messaging anti-abuse products or services, this document provides recommendations on processes and techniques to accurately determine a particular solution’s effectiveness. The March 2019 version includes recommendations affected by newer technology, such as cloud services, and other updates.

  • Flow Specification (Flowspec) is a new type of Network Layer Reachability Information (NLRI) for the BGP routing protocol. It was originally developed to help mitigate DDoS attacks but its use has expanded to numerous other applications.

  • In marketing terms, “appending” – also known as "e-appending" or "e-pending" – is the practice of taking demographic information known (or assumed) to be related to a particular customer and matching it with other data. It is the position of M3AAWG that this is an abusive messaging practice.  The January 2019 Version 1.0.1 is updated to include the European Union's GDPR and CASL.

  • Phishing continues to be a significant problem for hosting companies, mailbox providers, brand owners and, of course, for every internet user. This document iinforms all of these groups on the best current practices for reporting phishing URLs.

  • This document focuses on defining malicious domain names and provides a non-exhaustive list of possible actions that can be taken to address them.

  • Although M3AAWG recommends blocking outbound port 25 traffic as the best option for controlling the flow of unwanted email traffic from an ISP’s customer space, such blocks may not always be possible, either for the short or long term. This document offers some alternatives for these ISPs by describing methods they can use to share their dynamic space information with others and allow remote sites to reject inbound mail traffic from dynamic address space.

  • Updated in March 2018, this document addresses problems associated with compromised user accounts. It discusses mitigation techniques and methods of identifying compromised accounts, including recommendations to ensure the long-term security of accounts to prevent “re-compromise.”

  • Nearly all email systems, including those of Email Sender Providers and network operators, at some point have delivery issues because their sending IPs or domains are on a blocklist. This document shares established procedures defining how to triage and respond to a blocklisting to assist in a timely and effective resolution.  Version 1.0.1 was updated in February 2018.

  • Over a thousand new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) have been, or are in, the process of being created under ICANN’s new gTLD program.  This paper is written for current Registry operators and for companies interested in applying for new gTLDs, and outlines the risks and some relatively simple recommendations that can help correct these problems.

  • Email abuse rates can significantly affect a sender’s reputation and, consequently, its ability to deliver customers’ emails to the inbox. This paper explains some of the common processes senders can use to effectively manage and monitor email complaints and to help their customers, who are the list owners, develop healthy email practices that generate better results.
    of email lists.

  • Many list web forms provoke an email confirmation to the subscriber's email address provided in the form but malicious entities are now using this feature to do bulk form submissions with forged addresses that flood the subscriber’s inbox. M3AAWG members collaborated across the industry to propose a header as an initial step that hosting and sending companies can implement to help protect against these attacks. The header allows receivers to identify floods of mail coming from sign-up forms that are bombarding victim mailboxes.

  • This document covers best practices on how to properly construct and maintain an SPF record, common errors and some unintended consequences.  It is targeted at those with a basic understanding of the purpose and usage of SPF.

  • Due to disclosed vulnerabilities associated with the use of short DKIM keys, organizations should review their DKIM email authentication implementation based on these best practices updated in July 2017.  Also see a short video on this issue at the M3AAWG YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/maawg).

  • Many thousands of individual Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks take place each day. While many of these are relatively small, they are sufficient to take unprepared sites offline and threaten connectivity over large regions of the internet. It is in everyone’s interest to take all possible precautions to thwart these damaging DDoS attacks. This paper provides an overview of how this very common form of attack works, what measures can be taken to help eliminate it and pointers to some of the many technical documents that can provide more detail. Also see the video Understanding and Preventing Reflective DDoS Attacks with M3AAWG Senior Technical Advisor Dr. Richard Clayton of Cambridge University explaining reflective DDoS attacks and some of the actions the industry can take to protect against them.

  • Most users struggle to manage a large number of usernames and passwords.  While password managers have both proponents and detractors, these recommendations reflect the general consensus of the industry.

  • This document describes the budget and other costs associated with using cryptography to help make informed decisions when deploying encryption.

  • Distributed Denial of Service attacks continue to be a major concern. This guide helps businesses prepare for DDoS attacks and, as a side benefit, some of these same techniques can also help businesses that suddenly see a large increase in legitimate customer web traffic.

  • Passwords are used virtually everywhere.  This document provides password requirement recommendations for ISPs and other providers and briefly describes the risk model of using passwords to provide authorized or secure access to resources. It aims to improve end-user security by encouraging strong passwords.

  • While passwords are the default solution for securing users' accounts today, they have many shortcomings and most can be easily cracked.  M3AAWG believes the time has come for providers to require multifactor authentication, instead of simple passwords, to enhance protection of services with a history or substantial risk of account compromise. 

  • Updated in August 2016 as Version 1.2.0, this document is for spamtrap operators who generally use data generated from spamtraps for purposes such as research, evidence collection, infected machine mitigation or mail list leakage and list quality control.

  • WHOIS information plays a key role in determining where to report instances of abuse involving domain names. This paper explains some of the important WHOIS elements used to fight spam, phishing, malware distribution and other threats.

  • M3AAWG outlines the key characteristics of traffic analysis attacks, discusses potential ways to avoid them, and considers the advantages and disadvantages of deploying preventative measures.

  • With the advent of International Domain Names, Internationalized Top-Level Domains and Email Address Internationalization there will be an increase in the legitimate usage of Unicode characters and an increase in the potential for its abuse as well. This document provides best practices to curtail the potential Unicode abuse.

  • Provides background on the use of Unicode characters in the abuse context with a tutorial on the options to curtail that abuse.

  • Opportunistic encryption is one step in protecting email traffic between messaging providers but it might not be sufficient unless forward secrecy is also employed for the connection. This document explains why forward secrecy is necessary and provides guidance for implementing it.

  • Many organizations and individuals register “parked” domains not meant to either send or receive email traffic. Mailbox providers can authenticate incoming email from these domains quite effectively, provided such domains have the necessary identifiers. This best practices document describes what identifiers can be used to indicate a domain or subdomain that is not meant to send or receive emails. The December 2015 version updates some industry links that changed.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment. Updated August 2015.

  • Even though opportunistic encryption protects messages during transmission from sender to receiver, it is still possible for a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacker with a self-signed certificate to impersonate the intended destination. This brief document describes the MITM situation, outlines various methods bad actors can use to conduct MITM attacks, covers components for deterring these attacks and introduces DANE (DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities), a new technology to assist messaging providers in validating they are communicating with an intended destination when using SSL/TLS.

  • This document was jointly developed by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and M3AAWG with technical and business practices to help ISPs and mailbox providers thwart phishing attacks and other malevolent network abuses.  It also includes practices to respond constructively when these attacks occur. Version 2.01 updates the anti-phishing best practices originally published in 2006.

  • Written in plain language by M3AAWG and the London Action Plan (LAP), Operation Safety-Net outlines the current and emerging threats faced by consumers, businesses and governments with recommended best practices to address these threats. For a brief overview of the document, see the brochure explaining the global depth and breadth of these best practices in the Supporting Documents section from the For the Industry menu tab.

  • These industry best practices are intended to help mitigate the abuse of mobile messaging (i.e., SMS, MMS and RCS), including text messaging and connected services. The guidelines outlined here will assist service providers and vendors in maintaining practical levels of trust and security across an open, globally-interconnected messaging environment.

  • System abuse drains time and revenue for hosting and cloud providers, who must maintain constant vigilance to make sure their systems are not compromised and ensure that their customers are vigilant. This document categorizes types of abuse, suggests appropriate responses and reviews practices for dealing with customers and complaints. It provides current best common practices in use with the hosting, DNS and domain registration provider communities.

  • These updated best practices outline the criteria for exit, entry, remediation and subscriber education when using a walled garden to remediate virus and bot infections in subscriber devices.

  • Forwarding is quite popular among users who have multiple email accounts they prefer to manage centrally. This updated M3AAWG best practices document includes measures that can be adopted by email volume forwarders and the receivers of forwarded email to mitigate spam-related concerns specific to forwarding email addresses.

  • This document gives an overview of the current best common practices for sending commercial electronic messaging, focusing on the technical and practical policy aspects of these operations. The goal of these practices is to promote and enhance the transparency of senders maintaining legitimate messaging so that both individual recipients and mailbox providers are more easily able to distinguish legitimate messaging from messaging abuse.

  • When email authentication mechanisms are applied, both the originating and receiving systems are able to correctly and reliably validate who is accountable for the message. This paper describes authentication techniques to aid in protecting business’ brands from forgery and phishing attacks and is intended for a general readership that has basic familiarity with Internet mail service. The Executive Summary also provides a one-page overview that can be used independently.

  • M3AAWG recommends three basic measures, including turning on opportunistic TLS, that messaging providers can implement relatively quickly to enhance the security and privacy of their users’ mail.

  • In this paper, M3AAWG identifies some IPv6 anti-spam issues, provides recommendations to reduce abuse and offers an initial list of requirements for further technical work to address concerns within the broader Internet technical community.

  • Honeypots are a proven technology used for detecting and understanding online threats that also can be used to fight telephony spam. This document was written to facilitate and encourage telephony honeypot development, as well as the use and sharing of information about and from those honeypots. It includes an overview of the benefits of such honeypots and also provides details of the various options that exist for setting them up.

  • Just as speaking a common language allows two people to communicate effectively, standards that define the format of abuse reports and the destination address for them increase the effectiveness of network owners in fighting abusive traffic.

  • Provides guidance for system operators, network designers, security professionals and Internet Service Providers about potential issues associated with Large Scale Network Address Translation systems. 

  • ESPs take on significant risk every time a new customer sends email. A bad client can undermine the sending reputation for the ESP’s other clients as well as inflict abuse at recipient domains. This paper reviews some vetting practices to avoid these problems.

  • This paper briefly discusses how an DNS attack works, the impact of this threat, proposes a solution and discusses the advantages and disadvantages from a technical, business and regulatory standpoint

  • Note:  This M3AAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

    Note:  This MAAWG best practices paper has been replaced by RFC 6561 Remediation of Bots in ISP Networks, March 2012 from the IETF.

  • A summary of the most effective abuse desk best practices from MAAWG service providers

  • Recommendations include blocking unauthorized access to and from port 25, requiring authentication, and aggregating email traffic through a SMTP server that is controlled by the service provider

  • Outlines a voluntary set of principles for messaging system operators that discourages bulk messaging abuse of peer-to-peer messaging platforms

Malware

Committee Documents

  • Received email may not be handled only by a human. It may be partially or even fully handled by a software program. The purpose of this document is to offer guidance to marketing and sales staff about the way that nonhuman interactions (NHI, also known as “automated clicks”) affect the performance metrics of their email messages and reporting systems. This document is not intended to solve issues, but rather to provide insights into the effects of NHI and offer some best practices for senders.

  • The Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) welcomes the opportunity to review the draft report from ICANN’s Security Stability and Resiliency Review Team (Two).

  • When preparing for bulk or transactional email sending, two items require special attention: outbound IP addresses, and the domain names to be used for these communications. For the latter, ESPs (Email Service Providers) go through this set-up process frequently and have to review the same readiness checklist each time. This process may involve individual client preferences and constraints, both legal and technical.

  • It is the position of M3AAWG that third-party email list sales and purchases are abusive practices and that sending to purchased lists is also abusive, whether B2C, B2B or another objective.

Public Policy Comments

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