What is DMARC?
Email scams have been on the rise, and businesses have had to take steps to combat spoofing and phishing emails that trick people into giving away their personal account information. The Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) protocol allows email domain owners to protect their email domain from unauthorized use or email fraud in a standardized way.
Quarantine and Reject Policies
DMARC policies hinge on the use of two specific policies: Quarantine and Reject. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
The Quarantine policy allows receiving email systems to treat messages from sender domains that fail DMARC authentication with suspicion. Senders can instruct receiving systems to quarantine the message by adding “p=quarantine” to the DMARC record on their DNS. Quarantine means that the message will still be delivered to the mailbox, but it would require additional assessment to ascertain if it’s legitimate or malicious. Implementing quarantine policies is an efficient way to identify when email authentication is failing at your domain and a way to protect your customers from falling prey to fake emails.
A Reject policy instructs an email receiver to reject messages that fail DMARC authentication if an email protection protocol is in place in their account. To implement a Reject policy, the DMARC record on the DNS will specify “p=reject.” To the end-user, a Reject policy appears as if an email bounced, and the sender receives an error message. When a DMARC policy is in place, receivers will typically check the authentication status of incoming emails that validate the policies and filter out or reject messages that did not pass DMARC tests, reducing successful spoofing and phishing attacks. It’s essential to note that SMTP receivers implement DMARC in different ways, and not all service providers support Reject policies.
How to Implement DMARC?
Before assigning DMARC policy, a sender must complete both SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) set up for their domain. Once both SPF and DKIM are set, create DMARC records in your DNS. DMARC records are made up of multiple parts segmented with semicolons. For example, v=DMARC1; p=reject; rua=mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org. The version number “v” should be set to “DMARC1.” Other important variables include the policy or action “p,” which serves either Quarantine or Reject policy; and the percentage status “pct,” indicating the percentage of emails that must be DMARC compliant. When a DMARC policy is implemented, an email receiver will check the authentication status of emails that match the domain names listed in the “From:” field utilizing both SPF and DKIM. Check out this external source to gain more insight into the topic. https://www.tangent.com/solutions/security-compliance/dmarc, dive deeper into the subject.
DMARC is an essential protocol for protection against email impersonation and phishing scams. It adds an efficient and automated email authentication process using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols. Customers relying on and trusting your domain needs assurance that critical information is secure and reliable. Understanding DMARC policies is vital to achieving and maintaining the trust of your email recipients.
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