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Spamhaus introduces new whitelist email service

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September 28, 2010

Email anti-spam engineers at the popular Spamhaus Project have introduced a new email whitelist service of known benign Internet email servers.

Spamhaus' new initiative works seamlessly alongside the organization's well-established blacklist of bad mail servers to make it easier and simpler for mail server administrators to filter out junk and unwanted spam from all incoming email traffic.

Overall, qualified corporations such as banks, financial services companies, insurance firms, law firms, airlines, medical centers and certain government agencies, and transactional email from known automated billing systems, ecommerce servers and online banking services are all candidates for the new whitelist.

In addition to filtering out incoming email traffic by content, using a whitelist places a much lower performance overhead on email spam filters. It also makes it less likely that legitimate transaction-related emails or the like will be marked as spam by scoring systems, content filters, local blacklists or poor filtering choices.

For email senders, the technology makes it far less likely that important emails will either be delayed or classified as unwanted spam.

The Spamhaus Whitelist was launched as a beta initiative with inclusion on the list being by invitation only, from someone who already has a whitelist account.

Whitelist account holders "are chosen by others who trust them; you cannot simply apply," according to Spamhaus.

As could be expected, Spamhaus is reserving the right to revoke whitelist status for any email etiquette transgressions, such as the distribution of bulk mail of any type. The whitelist will be maintained in both IP addresses and domain name forms as two separate, but matched, lists.

Controls mean no domain or IP address that is on the Spamhaus Project blocklist can ever be whitelisted.

The Spamhaus Whitelist allows mail servers to separate incoming email traffic into 3 categories: Good, Bad and Unknown. You can block known bad email traffic, let known good email traffic pass safely, and heavily filter unknown email sources.

The benefits are better, faster and much safer spam filtering. Both an IP whitelist (SWL) and a domain whitelist (DWL) are available from Spamhaus servers worldwide. Using them is simple and free.

For mail recipients, the Spamhaus Whitelist heralds an end to mail messages marked by error as spam by scoring systems and content filters. For email senders, it means an end to important mail lost in junk folders, delayed or wrongly filtered as spam.

Only verified legitimate senders with clean reputations are approved for whitelisting and there are strict terms to keeping a whitelist account. Applications for whitelist accounts are currently only available by invitation.

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Source: The Spamhaus Project.

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