Some of the world's top providers of web-based email systems are teaming up with financial-services companies to combat phishing emails. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and AOL are all backing Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), a draft technical specification designed to reduce spoof emails and introduce an authentication system that helps email senders and receivers share information to ensure a message is legitimate.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Bank of America, and PayPal are all involved in the DMARC group too, which launches today. PayPal blocks around 200,000 emails a day thanks to its existing work with Google and Yahoo's email services, a figure that will likely improve if DMARC is implemented widely. For the project to be successful, it will need the industry as a whole to back it to ensure security and email software adopt the DMARC standards. End users of Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and AOL mail will not have to alter any settings, but ISPs and other email providers will need to implement email authentication technologies and the DMARC policy mechanism.

It remains to be seen whether the wider industry is willing to work together on suggestions and feedback for an improved email system, but the support from the heavyweights is encouraging enough to suggest that DMARC could have a very real impact on modern day electronic mail.