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email - a flawed protocol?

gary
Grafter
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎10-04-2007

email - a flawed protocol?

Hi Guys & Gals,
For many years now people have complained about SPAM across all ISP’s ... Does anybody think that email in itself has become… or always was a flawed protocol, always open to abuse?
People have fought day & night to stop things such as SPAM... does anybody think the time has come that a replacement for email in itself is needed?
But what? what could ever replace email?
Ideas?
Cheers,
Gary.
18 REPLIES 18
glloyd
Rising Star
Posts: 1,670
Thanks: 20
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Something needs doing that's for sure but what I don't know.
I would think for a start there should be an international agreement from all ISP's to do everything possible to stop spam mail at source as every ISP must be suffering the same problems. Those that refuse should be black listed until they fall into line.
reflexion
Dabbler
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Pn needs to allow SPF and DKIM to protect all the domains that are currently being spoofed?
Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

I'm using email less and less these days.
To talk to friends I use things like Facebook / Private Forums / Groups / Social Networking.  As PlusNet staff know, we discourage the use of email in the office, instead keeping everything within Workplace in Internal Forums.  I only really use email to keep in touch with my parents and when I'm buying something online.
Wouldn't it be good if when buying something from eBuyer or similar, I could have the confirmation delivered to my Facebook inbox?  :-)
gary
Grafter
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Quote from: Liam
I'm using email less and less these days.
--------
Wouldn't it be good if when buying something from eBuyer or similar, I could have the confirmation delivered to my Facebook inbox?  :-)

This was my point, I didn't start this as a "secific to PlusNet thing" It was more of a general... what if? and lets have an open debate about email in general.

I have also just about stopped using email all togeather and have new/different ways of communicating.
e.g.
1. If I want to contact my sister, I send her on offline IM via MSN
2. If I want to contact work collegues I send them an offline Jabber message
3. If I want to communicate something to a group as a whole I make a forum post
My question is, how long would it be before people start to use other ways of communicating and move totally away from email thus making it redundant and a new email/communication technology is born?

What ifHuh
fusian
Grafter
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎11-06-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

I personally think a unified messenger protocol that can receive offline comms, that could be tied to a mobile phone etc would be the ideal replacement.
The use of email for me has declined but i still use it a hell of a lot, cant really be without it, i dont think anything could just slot in as a replacement, everything is too proprietry, whatever protocol replaces it, if it ever happens would need to be open source.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 5,351
Thanks: 663
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

What really is the difference between email and Jabber?  When using Exodus with our Jabber server, I can see messages sent to me offline, just like when I pick up my email in the morning.....
However, isn't this just as open to spam as email?  I'd either need to approve everyone who would want to talk to me, which is impossible, or have some sort of filtering mechanism... and suddenly we are back in the word of spam checkers and mishits from filters etc.  Huh

Kelly Dorset
Broadband Service Manager
Tamlyn
Grafter
Posts: 268
Registered: ‎11-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Quote from: Kelly
What really is the difference between email and Jabber?

Even less if you follow this protocol Smiley
It annoys me though when my freelance clients tell me important stuff via IM rather than in a mail because it's so much harder to refer to later. Sure I can search my message logs but it's much easier to just look up an email by date & subject.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Quote from: Gary
become… or always was a flawed protocol, always open to abuse?

It was "fit for propose" when it was designed and implemented.
But over time it has been shown to be a flawed protocol. We have web2.0, its about time for e-mail2.0
IMHO its will need a groud up redesign, and security, and accountability need to be key features.
Chilly
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: ‎24-05-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

It is flawed, but only in the sense of it being trivial to forge the message envelope to make it appear a spam message is from someone else. Technically this is fairly easy to fix. Though it has to be said that some rather silly solutions have been proposed. (Anybody remember digital 'postage stamps'?)
The real difficulty is migrating everyone to new secure e-mail protocols, doing it globally, and doing it in a sensible period of time. It would probably take the likes of a Microsoft or Google to provide a compelling offer that would drive infrastructure upgrades and migration to new protocols, but you have to question whether you'd really want to trust them to do it.
MrToast
Grafter
Posts: 550
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Quote from: Gary
... Does anybody think that email in itself has become… or always was a flawed protocol, always open to abuse?

Well, maybe trying to fix SMTP isn't going to work. SPAM volumes continue to rise both in absolute terms and as a proportion.... but SMTP isn't the only email.
Before the internet was available our corportate network used X400. Times changed and the internet brought a simple 'Free' option. Sadly this simple option is also un-accountable. The costs of the fraudulent miss-use (SPAM) are pushed onto the legitimate user.
Today I checked my corporate email settings and found that I still have an X400 address. Since X400 is the only non-propriery email standard (its an ITU standard) why don't we all start using X400?
The downside many will see is the cost of sending X400. The ability to charge requires a level of accountability as to who is sending messages. However, I bet it would be cheaper than providing ever more resources to handling SPAM. Under the current SMTP model the receiver funds the infrastructure to receive SPAM.
There are things that can be done to 'harden' SMTP. THese require cooperation for best effect. A central register of bone fide mail servers, for example, could act as a white list for receiving mail. But who would set up and police such a register and get everyone to adopt it? This takes organisation. Its also gong to mean getting everyone to subscribe by one way or another.
This kind of organisation isn't at the core of how the internet works.
As SPAM is prediected by some to rise 10 fold over the next 5 years perhaps SMTP is over as a usefull communication tool.
Would Plusnet consider setting up X400 mailboxes for us?
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

It's an idea, I suspect unless lots of other ISPs start using X400 there would be little point because of how few people have X400 addresses and even fewer know how to use them. I have a feeling I had an X400 address when I was at uni, but not seen any since. If there's a lot of demand for it then we can certainly look into it, maybe one for PUGIT:
http://usergroup.plus.net/pugit
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: ‎24-05-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

There are reasons why X.400 has never taken off in a big way, so I don't think it's likely to supercede systems derived from SMTP in the future.
I was involved in implementing some X.400 MTA's about 15 years ago. It was a miserable and depressing experience that I've tried hard to forget. It wasn't popular then, and I doubt that it has seen any significant increase in popularity since. The techies hated it, but more importantly, so did end-users.
I remember giving folks their X.400 addresses in the organisation I worked for, and they laughed. They thought the addresses were a joke because they were so unwieldy, too difficult to remember, and too easy to get wrong. The end-users quickly grew to hate the X.400 addressing scheme. Some organisations had very complex addresses that were too long to fit on one line of a business card. One organisation I dealt with, had their address printed all around the edges of their business cards like a border - it was that long.
At the time, I think the view was that long and complicated X.400 addresses would not continue to be a problem because we'd all have access to distributed online directories where we would be able to look up organisations and people from within our mail clients - that would have been a wonderful gift for spammers.
J_i_m
Grafter
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

Quote from: reflexion
Pn needs to allow SPF and DKIM to protect all the domains that are currently being spoofed?

I recently had to implement DKIM on several servers at work.
Still isn't working right yet but it's a pretty graceful way of going about things.
Still needs to be universally taken up to be of any use though.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,253
Thanks: 5
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: email - a flawed protocol?

SMTP is a "toy" protocol compared to X.400, which was designed from the ground up to be flexible and secure. (The trouble was that it was also designed by committee.)
There was a short period in the 90s when X.400 was starting to look like the messaging protocol of choice (corporates loved the security and the way you could plug in X.500 etc) , but it also required lots of technical input and was complex to gateway to other protocols. It remained the province of gurus.
Then M$ introduced new and improved Exchange versions, which were just plug'n'play. End users could implement large messaging systems and didn't need expensive consultants (like me in those days) to help .
SMTP was straightforward to implement and the addressing was easy. No-one could be bothered (and why should they?) to use an X.400 backbone and front-end it with SMTP.
I can't see X.400 reappearing as a popular protocol. SMTP will evolve I'd hope but in the meantime we'll have to put up with its considerable shortcomings.
Paul