Google and Yahoo say they will crack down on spam with new measures

Jason Macuray
Two of the world’s largest email providers said Tuesday that they will take several new steps to rein in bulk senders and prevent spam.

Two of the world’s largest email providers said Tuesday that they will take several new steps to rein in bulk senders and prevent spam.

In its announcement, Yahoo noted that many bulk senders don’t set systems up properly, which can lead to “malicious actors” exploiting them undetected.

Across the first quarter of 2024, Yahoo said it will implement rules requiring all bulk senders to implement more robust email authentication leveraging industry standards such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

The Yahoo announcement also said that users should be able to unsubscribe from spam with one click. The company said it has been pushing one click unsubscribe for “some time,” but “adoption of these common sense standards have been low.” The tech giant will now require senders execute on user unsubscribe requests within two days.

Google posted a similar announcement Tuesday, saying that while Gmail’s “AI-powered defenses” block more than 99.9% of spam, phishing and malware from reaching inboxes, it is doing more because threats are now more complex than they ever have been.

The company said it will now require bulk senders, defined as those who send more than 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day, to do more to validate their identities.

“Many bulk senders don’t appropriately secure and configure their systems, allowing attackers to easily hide in their midst,” the Google announcement said.

Google said that despite new measures implemented last year requiring emails sent to a Gmail address be authenticated, there is more work to be done. The company is going to begin requiring senders who email in significant volume to “strongly authenticate their emails following well-established best practices.”

As with Yahoo, Google will require one click unsubscription and ask bulk senders to honor unsubscription requests within two days.

To reduce spam, the company also will begin enforcing a “clear spam rate threshold” that bulk senders must not exceed. The measure will ensure Gmail customers aren’t saturated with unwanted messages, the company said.

Google and Yahoo acknowledged each other in their announcements with Google explaining that “keeping email more secure, user friendly and spam-free requires constant collaboration and vigilance from the entire email community. And we’ll keep working together to make sure your inbox stays safe.”

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Suzanne Smalley is a reporter covering privacy, disinformation and cybersecurity policy for The Record. She was previously a cybersecurity reporter at CyberScoop and Reuters. Earlier in her career Suzanne covered the Boston Police Department for the Boston Globe and two presidential campaign cycles for Newsweek. She lives in Washington with her husband and three children.

 

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