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Industry: Internet
Founded: 2004
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Country: USA
Key People
Amy Cadagin, Executive Director

Janet Jones, Chair
Matthew Thomas, Vice-Chair

M3AAWG is the acronym for Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, which is a non-profit international organization primarily engaged in preventing online abuses such denial of service attacks, phishing, spam, viruses and many other cyber crimes. The organization uses industry collaboration, technology, and public policy to provide solutions related to online messaging abuses. M3AAWG was founded (as "MAAWG") in 2004 and its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California.[1]

Since its establishment, M3AAWG has been active in helping protect internet users and promote online security by publishing documents regarding the improvement of online security. It also publishes a quarterly e-mail metrics report that covers around 500 million mailboxes. It is used to analyze the trend and to track dangerous e-mail abuses. M3AAWG also provides comments on public policies and provides training courses related to cyber security. Its documents are published in different languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German,Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The members of M3AAWG are categorized as Sponsor, Full Member and Supporter. Some of the organizations sponsor members are AOL, AT&T, France Telecom, Cloudmark Inc., Facebook, Yahoo!.[2] The members of the organization meet three times a year to discuss the latest issues on messaging security, bot mitigation practices, social networking abuse as well as on-going policies and legislation conducted by different governments and other organizations involved in cyber security.[3]

ICANN Involvement

The Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group actively shares its commentaries on various ICANN policies. On July 28, 2010, M3AAWG praised the Internet governing body's initiative in preparing an initial report regarding its plans to improve the Registration Accreditation Agreement. M3AAWG supported the issues identified as high priority on the Initial Report on Proposals for Improvements to the RAA and emphasized that these should be incorporated into the new RAA. These issues include:[4]

  • Leave it to registrars to investigate malicious conduct
  • A competent technical point of contact on malicious conduct issues should be designated and available 24/7
  • Registrars should ensure the availability of privacy/proxy services on registration such as data escrow, relay function and reveal function
  • Registrars have the right to cancel registrations made by other privacy/proxy services for noncompliance with Relay and Reveal under proper circumstances
  • Identify situations requiring registrars to cancel registrations with fraud or false Whois data provided
  • PCI compliance should be required in the registration process
  • Provide a clear definition for "reseller" and registrar's responsibility for reseller compliance
  • Registrars should be required to fully disclose affiliates/multiple accreditations as well as the registrar contact information, type of business organization, officers, etc

M3AAWG also provided comments on the following issues:

  • ICANN Study on the Prevalence of Domain Names Registered using a Privacy or Proxy Registration Service among the top 5 gTLDs - M3AAWG commented that the result of ICANN's study, which found that approximately 20% of domains use proxy or privacy service, is consistent with their own observation on the matter, including the fact that a majority of those 20% do not provide any information regarding the beneficial user's identity. In addition, M3AAWG encouraged ICANN to further investigate whether there were TLDs/Registrars with disproportionately high or low numbers of proxy or privacy registration. The organization also agreed that ICANN's plan to conduct further proxy/privacy studies to document the relay and reveal practices of proxy/privacy services was important and encouraged ICANN to implement its plan as soon as possible.[5]
  • ICANN’s proposed 2011 Plan for Enhancing Internet Security, Stability and Resiliency - M3AAWG concurred that ICANN should define its limited role in the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet in the 2009 plan to avoid letting the mission creeping into inappropriate areas. M3AAWG also emphasized that ICANN must recognize the extent of its mission and role in relationship with other organizations. The organization cited that ICANN's primary mission was related to the domain name system, and its role was to ensure that the stability, security, resiliency, and scalability of the internet was always maintained. M3AAWG also pointed that ICANN is also responsible for collaborating with different organizations, government agencies and the global internet community in fighting against abuse of the DNS.[6]
  • ICANN Whois Review Team - M3AAWG recommended that ICANN should require registries to adopt the "thick" Whois Service, in order to be able to provide reliable service and standardized report formats. The organization is against the proposal that only law enforcement agencies should be allowed access to the Whois database, and suggested that the accuracy and reliability of the Whois service should be maintained. In addition, M3AAWG encouraged ICANN to provide a quarterly summary report on the volume of inaccuracy incident reports received through the WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System (WDPRS) and encouraged the Whois Review Team to include technological improvements on the Whois service.[7]
  • ICANN’s Draft FY2012 Budget - M3AAWG reviewed the proposed ICANN budget for fiscal year 2012 and commended the budget allocation on the following important areas, marking them as priorities:
  1. Registrar Oversight
  2. Whois Operation and Usability
  3. Scalable access to zone file data given the imminent addition of new gTLDs
  4. Cooperation with law enforcement, government regulators, and non-governmental organizations to prevent or respond to cybercrime and Internet abuse

M3AAWG also observed a 17.9% increase on the budget allocated for Global Engagement and International Participation, compared with the FY 2011 budget. The organization also noted that no specific budget had been allocated to improve the zone file access, and the effort provided to reach out to the law enforcement needs of the community was limited. In addition, M3AAWG pointed out that ICANN's operating expenses increased by 13%, whereas its revenue was only up by 6.5%. Given those facts, M3AAWG suggested that ICANN should take measures to reduce its expenditures or to increase its revenues.[8]

Senior Technical Advisors

Senior Advisors in Public Policy, Data Privacy, and Growth and Development