Valimail extends email security standards and working group contributions with new leadership roles

Seth Blank named co-chair of IETF DMARC working group; other Valimail personnel assume key roles with M3AAWG and the independent group developing BIMI standard

SAN FRANCISCO, March 13, 2020 — Valimail, the #1 provider of identity-based anti-phishing solutions, announced today that Seth Blank, the company’s vice president of standards and new technologies, has been named co-chair of the DMARC working group at the IETF, underscoring Valimail’s commitment to bettering the internet for all.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large, open, international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. Its mission is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet, primarily through publishing Request For Comment (RFC) documents — the Internet’s core standards.

DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Receiving, and Conformance, a widely used mechanism for fighting email fraud and providing domain owners with visibility and control over who is sending email from their domains. Valimail’s research has shown that DMARC is implemented and enforced by 80% of inboxes worldwide, and has been growing exponentially among domain owners: Nearly 1 million of the Internet’s most active domains now have DMARC records in DNS.

The IETF previously published an informational RFC on DMARC (RFC 7489), and the IETF working group for DMARC now aims to further develop and standardize the specification to improve interoperability, eliminate any remaining issues, and further advance its functionality.

“The IETF plays a central role in defining the standards that make the Internet work smoothly, safely, and fairly for everyone, and I’m honored to be able to help shepherd the meaningful efforts of this working group,” said Blank. “DMARC addresses significant shortcomings in the way email works. There is no better place than the IETF to address these issues and to uplift the ecosystem for everyone.”

Blank is a co-author of and/or a significant contributor to multiple next-generation email standards and is an author of the Authenticated Received Chain (RFC 8617). Blank leads Valimail’s efforts to support industry-wide, ecosystem technologies that improve the security and effectiveness of Internet technologies benefiting everyone.

Additionally, Blank and other Valimail executives have assumed several significant roles in M3AAWG, the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, a consortium of companies that have been working for over a decade to stop spam, phishing, and other abuse within Internet messaging platforms including email.

  • Valimail co-founder and chief technology officer Peter Goldstein was named to the Agenda Oversight Committee of M3AAWG (after previously serving as technical co-chair for the past 2 years).
  • Blank was named co-chair of the technical committee at M3AAWG. (He remains co-chair of M3AAWG’s election security special interest group.)
  • Technical director Ash Wilson was named vice chair of the Internet of Things special interest group at M3AAWG.

Blank and Goldstein also remain members of the M3AAWG board of directors.

Finally, program manager Madeline McCaffrey was named secretary of the AuthIndicators Working Group, the independent organization that is developing the BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) standard. BIMI provides a way for domain owners to control the image (avatar) that inbox providers display next to authenticated email messages, enabling them to display logos with every email they send. The BIMI working group — where Blank also serves as chair — consists of a select group of vendors: 250OK, Comcast, Fastmail, Google, LinkedIn, ReturnPath from Validity, Twilio, and Verizon Media. Verizon’s Yahoo Mail platform is currently piloting BIMI, and Google has stated that it plans a pilot of BIMI for later in 2020.

Besides supporting the IETF, M3AAWG, and the AuthIndicators Working Group, Valimail also plays key roles in industry groups such as the Online Trust Alliance and the Global Cyber Alliance, and engages with government organizations such as DHS/CISA, DOD, NIST, and others, helping to define and evangelize best practices that make email more secure and trustworthy for all.

Valimail has been committed to uplifting the entire Internet ecosystem since the company’s founding in 2015. With its ongoing work with standards bodies and contributions to open source software, Valimail has made numerous and meaningful improvements to the email security ecosystem.