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The Problem with Email Whitelists

By February 12, 2014October 21st, 2021Blog

Let’s talk about the problem with whitelisting. For those that don’t graduate with a degree in email awesomeness, whitelisting is a security process that uses trusted email communities to stop malicious emails while still allowing important messages through. By using a whitelist, email solutions can make sure that you never have an interruption in your mail flow. However there is an issue…

Most security solutions that use a whitelist bypass any other type of security measure once an email makes it past the whitelist. Which seems like it would make sense at first glance. If an email comes from a friend it should be safe to open right? Wrong.

The problem is that email hijacking is a fairly common tactic for cyber scoundrels looking to disseminate malicious emails. They’ll take over an account and then send off an email to every address in the contacts list, infecting every unsuspecting person who just wanted to read an email from Granpa Jim. the whitelist can’t tell a difference in the email so it never stops it from getting through.

That’s why Sendio applies the whitelist as the very last step in a formidable arsenal of filters. Every email needs to pass through every tier of security before making it to the user. Even if a message is sent from a whitelisted contact, it still won’t hit your inbox unless it’s completely clean.

Emails sent from whitelisted contacts that are suspicious in any way, such as an email from an automated or mass-mailing source, will land in a queue for you to review. (Unless you actively opt-in a mail-server, you will not receive bulk email.) If an email from someone in your whitelist is found to definitely be a malicious email, you won’t get it, but if Sendio thinks an email from someone in your whitelist might be spam, you can still see it in your email queue. By applying the whitelist last and giving you review power with an email queue, Sendio gives you great security and increases your productivity by stopping spam and malicious emails before they make it to your inbox.

Whitelists are a great tool to have when it comes to cutting down on malicious mail, but they’re not the only tool you need. That’s why we combine trusted email communities with multiple tiers of security to ensure that your inbox stays nice and clean.