Messaging anti-abuse working group unveils best practises, code of conduct, and reference architecture

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Plans to expand to broader coalition of global operators

Building on their initial meeting on December 2003, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) led by Openwave Systems, met in Boston to discuss plans to expand from an initial working group to a broader coalition of global carriers.  The group, which represents 110 million subscribers worldwide, has made significant progress towards its goal of working collaboratively to address and mitigate messaging abuse problems – including spam, viruses, forgery, fraud and other malicious attacks – affecting both broadband and mobile service providers and their customers.


Specifically, the group unveiled a code of conduct, a current best practices document for messaging operators (A practical overview of actions local system administrators can take to harden a production messaging systems), and a draft reference architecture for common reference. Furthermore, the group finalised details around membership specifics, including tiered membership levels, requirements and annual dues.

To drive the group forward, participants discussed commitments to a 12-month roadmap that includes delivery on the following:

 - Significantly growing the membership roster of messaging operators
 - Hosting an Anti-Abuse Summit on May 17-19, in Washington D.C.  To register for the summit, or to request more information on the MAAWG, please visit www.maawg.org
 - Establishing a common abuse profile to enable companies to collaborate on abuse issues, share key contact information, reporting procedures, etc.
 - Accelerate industry adoption of a sender authentication protocol

Attendees included Adelphia, Avantel, BellSouth, Cox Communications, Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ), IIJ America, Interland Hosting Services, Openwave, POBox.com and Verizon Online.

"As MAAWG continues to make progress by developing a code of conduct, best practice and technology architectures, we are poised to tackle messaging abuse head on," said Dale W. Malik, Director of Broadband Applications, BellSouth. "By expanding MAAWG participation, we are not only growing in numbers but are becoming a significant resource to address this issue effectively."

"At Adelphia we understand the need to address the issues of spam, viruses and security. Spam is a constantly evolving problem that impacts nearly every individual or company using email and the Internet," said Sherman Hand, Manager, Internet Policy Enforcement Team. "Having a united front on the war on spam, just as the spammers are united, is the first step in this fight. We are proud to be in at the beginning of this inter-operator forum to effect change as a group that far exceeds what we could accomplish individually."

"Messaging abuse crosses global boundaries where anti-spam laws do not always apply," said Yoshihiro Shimazu, Deputy General Manager of Strategy Planning Division, IIJ.  "In order to effectively combat the growing problems of abuse, MAAWG is looking to broaden its reach across international borders to recruit companies committed to fighting and stopping messaging abuse."


"Messaging abuse is the number one threat to all forms of Internet communications," said Rich Wong, general manager, Openwave. "By uniting industry-leading global carriers, we are making systematic progress against this epidemic and expect these concerted efforts to be the first step in eliminating messaging abuse altogether."

"Today, there are many fragmented anti-spam initiatives working separately, said Meng Weng Wong, CTO, Pobox.com.  "If we hope to control viruses and spam, the industry has to work together.  The world needs an Internet equivalent of the World Health Organization.  I believe MAAWG can grow into that role."

"As messaging abuse continues to wreak havoc on the industry and threaten Internet communication, it is our responsibility, as messaging operators, to address the problem," said Todd Dean, Director of Data Operations and Support for Cox Communications.  "By acting collectively and cooperatively we can have a far greater impact than by acting alone."