Valimail’s Seth Blank named chair of M3AAWG’s election security working group

Industry organization’s Election Security Special Interest Group to develop best practices for protecting election integrity

SAN FRANCISCO, November 4, 2019 — Valimail, the leading provider of identity-based anti-phishing solutions, announced today that director of industry initiatives Seth Blank has been named co-chairman of the Election Security Special Interest Group (ES-SIG) of the email industry group M3AAWG.

M3AAWG, the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, is a consortium of companies that have been working for over a decade to stop email spam, phishing, and other online abuse including bots, malware, and DoS attacks.

As founding co-chair, together with Nathaniel Borenstein, chief scientist for Mimecast, Blank will define the scope and agenda of the election security group, with the aim of bringing M3AAWG’s significant collective expertise combating online abuse to bear on the problem of election security.

“M3AAWG has done a spectacular job of defeating spam and combating many types of phishing,” Blank said. “This work has great potential relevance for elections — for example, spearphishing has been a documented attack vector on voting infrastructure in recent years. These attacks threaten not only the physical hardware used to cast ballots, but the entire process of campaigning, learning about candidates and issues, tabulating votes, and reporting the results. Our goal with the Election Security SIG is to identify the areas where our collective expertise can be most effective in helping to secure this critical technology that underpins our democracy.”

Blank has already played a significant role in bringing key representatives of the U.S. election infrastructure to previous M3AAWG meetings. He was instrumental in arranging a keynote presentation to M3AAWG in 2018 by Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra, and has also brought representatives from the DOD and NIST, as well as consultants, researchers, and state CIOs to the conference. Blank’s new role recognizes this work and underscores M3AAWG’s commitment to election security.

Blank is a significant contributor to multiple next-generation email standards. He is an author of the Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) RFC; holds the chairmanship of the AuthIndicators Working Group, which is developing Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI); and is the secretary of the IETF working group for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). Blank leads Valimail’s open source efforts to support these ecosystem technologies.

Additionally, Blank and Valimail co-founder and CTO Peter Goldstein are members of the M3AAWG board of directors. Blank is co-chair of its collaboration committee and Goldstein is co-chair of its technical committee.

Besides supporting M3AAWG, Valimail also plays key roles in industry groups such as the Online Trust Alliance and Global Cyber Alliance, helping to define and evangelize best practices that make email more secure and trustworthy.