PayPal asking e-mail services to block messages

PayPal is trying to persuade e-mail providers to block messages without a digital signature, a recently implemented security feature, a company attorney said

PayPal, the Internet-based money transfer system owned by eBay, is trying to persuade e-mail providers to block messages that lack digital signatures, which are aimed at cutting down on phishing scams, a company attorney said Tuesday.

So far, no agreements have been reached, but the idea is one that PayPal would like to see from other e-commerce businesses, said Joseph E. Sullivan, PayPal's associate general counsel, at the International E-Crime Congress in London.

An agreement with, for example, Google for its Gmail service could potentially stop spam messages that look legitimate and bypass spam filters.

PayPal is using several technologies to digitally sign its e-mails now, including DomainKeys, Sullivan said. DomainKeys, a technology developed by Yahoo, enables verification of the sender and integrity of the message that's sent.

PayPal is one of the most highly spoofed brands, with fraudsters sending out spam to lure vulnerable users to look-a-like Web sites where their log-in details and passwords are collected and abused for profit.

Once a hacker has gained control of a PayPal account, it's possible to send money to other PayPal accounts or purchase goods. PayPal has introduced rules to counter fraud, such as limits on how much money can be transferred. PayPal also compensates users who've had their accounts hijacked, Sullivan said.

But the phishing problem is getting worse than when he started working for eBay five years ago, Sullivan said.

Last week, Sullivan said he got a call from his father, who said he'd fell prey to a phishing scam. While spam filtering technologies have improved and awareness around phishing is rising, users tend to be the weakest point, falling for sometimes very convincing social engineering tricks.

"I think one lesson we've learned is that education isn't going to stop this," Sullivan said. "Phishing attacks are too good now. Every company that does business on the Internet is being targeted by phishing scams now."

The number of phishing sites is also rising. A report released last week by the Anti-Phishing World Group, a consortium of vendors and government agencies, said the number of fraudulent Web sites in January reached an all-time high of 29,930.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?