If you run a customer email platform and are interested in best practice approaches to fighting email abuse, you need to know about M3AAWG – the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, based in the United States.
What is M3AAWG?
M3AAWG is a non-profit body that has been bringing together telcos, ISPs, email service providers, social networking companies, hardware and software companies, antivirus companies, and cybersecurity companies since 2004, to work against botnets, malware, spam, viruses, DoS attacks and other online exploitation.
With over 200 members worldwide, M3AAWG is the largest global association in this industry, bringing all of the online community stakeholders together in a trusted forum. Their members share information regarding deployments of new technologies, as well as operational-level evaluations of technical initiatives, for stopping abuse and other online threats. M3AAWG is an excellent forum to discuss ideas, test solutions, review techniques, and learn from a community of experts and senior technical advisors.
M3AAWG is a trusted community that requires approval. If you believe that you have something to contribute to the global effort against online abuse, we encourage you to apply for membership.
Three times a year, M3AAWG runs in-person meetings, with their largest event held in San Francisco each February. To give you a taste of what to expect at their events, M3AAWG has kindly approved the following recap video with atmail’s Steve Webb, as well as the transcript from the full Q&A session with atmail’s Jason Brown.
Steve Webb’s full interview with Jason Brown
The video above is an abbreviated recap of Steve’s full interview with atmail’s Jason Brown, our Montana-based Solutions Architect, who has been with atmail for more than 15 years. Here is the transcript from the full interview:
Jason: Hi Steve. Can you please share with us who you are, and what M3AAWG is?
Steve: My name is Steve Webb. I’m a recent starter with atmail, although I have 30 years’ experience of email platforms.
M3AAWG is a behind the scenes group that acts for the greater good of the mailbox users’ population. They come with fresh ideas, new technologies and new policies to help make the transit of email from sender to the receiver as secure as possible, and there are new technologies coming up so that bad actors can’t read the emails while in transit. It’s secure from when it’s sent to when it’s received. There are more background technologies to do with securing DNS so the bad actors can’t interrupt that flow of the email and divert it to a mailbox of their own. M3AAWG does this not for profit but for the greater good of the industry and the people that we are protecting.
The 3 M’s are for Messaging, Malware and Mobile. It’s an antiabuse workgroup. It’s where the email industry and the telecoms industry come together and look at ways to fight online abuse. They currently have 200 members worldwide and the latest meeting was the 48th meeting since they started 15 years ago. Their recent meeting in San Francisco, M3AAWG 2020, had more than 500 attendees from 23 countries. So, we have a really big mix of different players in the industry: mailbox providers; antispam vendors; regulatory authorities; and policy makers; all coming together to discuss how we fight the bad actors.
Jason: So, M3AAWG’s intentions are not commercial?
Steve: Correct, it is an industry association. The outputs are [M3AAWG] best practice documents. The group as a whole is asked for advice when policy makers in government and other regulatory authorities want advice on technologies or assistance with how they should be thinking about their policies, and they will come to M3AAWG to ask for assistance.
Jason: Why do you think it’s important for atmail and other email industry players to support M3AAWG?
Steve: It’s important because we are all part of the industry; so to have our say in what we are doing, what technologies we need to be putting on our road map, and to be part of that antiabuse community to help reduce the effects of the bad actors on mailbox users; so that they get the best experience they can, and don’t have to deal with the spam and malware.
Jason: What did you learn at M3AAWG 2020 San Francisco about the future direction of the email industry?
Steve: There were presentations from antiabuse event vendors that gave updates from what they saw in 2019. What some of the trends in malware were, and they gave insight into what they are expecting this year. They also showed the effect of how well we are doing against the bad actors. The bad actors are having to buy a larger number of domains for them to distribute and activate their malware, and there is a cost associated with that. So, our antiabuse policies and the software that we are using is having a direct effect on the bottom line for bad actors.
M3AAWG also took a look into the future to see what is coming down the line for us, and with IoT devices (the internet of everything devices). Things like your lightbulb [that] you can turn on from your mobile phone; your heating system that you can turn on from work; those type of devices. They expect there to be 128 billion devices in the next ten years. So, we need to address things like when your fridge detects you have run out of milk and sends you an email. But what happens when it errors and it starts sending you ten emails every second? How do we control that? How do we access that IoT device? And how do we stop that spam coming from your intelligent devices?
There were people there that were looking at home networks and trying to identify these devices on that network. How does a lightbulb react differently on the network to the fridge, or your Alexa, or your other devices? How can they then get statistics for those devices? Is the lightbulb on? Is it blue? Is it green? Is it red? Is the fridge only sending one email instead of ten?
Outside of the sessions, there was a chance to speak to all the antiabuse vendors. They would tell of their plans for this year and what they were hoping their software would be able to do in future, how they were going to attack the spammers. I had conversations with people from regulatory authorities in both North and South America; how they are using policies to help guide the industry, and one of the hot topics is always privacy – privacy of people that are using email.
Jason: Was M3AAWG 2020 San Francisco a worthwhile investment of time?
Steve: Yes, it was a great event with a great community. I’d been before, and I would go again.
Upcoming M3AAWG 2020 Meetings
49th General Meeting*
June 8-11, 2020, London, England
Training: June 8, 2020
Financial Track: June 10, 2020
Members Session: June 9-11, 2020
Park Plaza Riverbank London
*”March 9, 2020: At this time, M3AAWG is moving forward and planning to be in London in June, it is too early to make a decision on a cancellation for the June meeting date. We plan to re-evaluate this decision mid-April.”
50th General Meeting
October 12-15, 2020, Brooklyn, NY USA
Training: October 12, 2020
Members Sessions: October 13-15
New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
M3AAWG 2021 Meetings
51st General Meeting
Feb. 15-18, 2021, San Francisco, CA USA
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
52nd General Meeting
June 6 -10, 2021, Dublin, Ireland
Burlington Road, Dublin
53rd General Meeting
October 11- 14, 2021, Toronto, Canada
Westing Harbour Castle
M3AAWG 2022 Meetings
54th General Meeting
Feb. 21-24, 2022, San Francisco, CA USA
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
55th General Meeting
June 13-16 or 20-23
56th General Meeting
October 10-14, 2022 – Brooklyn, NY USA
Marriott Brooklyn Bridge
M3AAWG 2023 Meetings
57th General Meeting
February 13 – 16 or 20- 23, 2023
San Francisco, CA USA
58th General Meeting
June 5-8 or 12-15
59th General Meeting
October 9-12 or 16- 19
Disclaimer: Whilst current at the time of publication, please understand that is your responsibility to check M3AAWG’s meeting list directly. atmail takes no responsibility for incorrect dates. Thank you.
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