July 21, 2021

What DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are and How they Work

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An overview of DKIM, SPF and DMARC, and know how they work and why they are important to keep you safe in an online world.
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What DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are and How they Work

Digitalization has brought us convenience along with innumerable hassles. Cyber attacks nowadays have become serious threats. One of such cyber hassles is email spoofing.

What is email spoofing?

It is a kind of cyber attack in which a hacker disguises the real identity and sends an email. The emails are manipulated in such a way that it seems to be coming from a trusted source. Such spoofed emails are often used for spam campaigns. 

When the receiver finds the email, he or she is likely to open it, seeing the name of the trusted source on the header.

Spoofing also includes the manipulation of domains for an email. Similar kinds of domains are used in these attacks. In this way, the scammers trick the people.

Considering the gravity of the situation, organizations and individuals are now more concerned about the security protocol. They are inclined to take essential measures against such cyber attacks.

Hereby, the write-up will discuss three major components that help build protection against email spoofing or phishing. It will help you to prevent the fraud email from spamming your inbox.

The components are DKIM, SPF, and DMARC.

A Brief Overview of DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail or DKIM is an effective email authentication protocol used to detect spoofed or fake emails.

It first adds a digital signature to the headers of an email. The signature is usually authenticated by a public cryptographic key available in the organization’s DNS (Domain Name System) records. When a server sends an email, it generates a unique DKIM signature and attaches it to the header.

The header is the storehouse of all the information about how the signature is generated.

When the receiving mail server receives the mail, the server uses the public DKIM key found in DNS and decrypts the signature. Then, it is compared with a freshly generated version. If both of them are matched, the email is considered to be authentic.

One can also link an email back to a domain with the help of DKIM.

What is SPF, and How Does it Work?

SPF or Sender Policy Framework is an email authentication technology majorly used for email delivery and email security.

It is a popular way to safeguard domain reputation. It is a gateway that every email coming from any inbound server has to go through. The receiving servers initiate the SPF verification process by using the Return-path of the domain. From the return path, the server checks the TXT record. It is usually available in the sender’s DNS server.

If the SPF is verified, the mails from the specific server will be allowed to enter. Otherwise, if the IP address of the sending email is not found in the receiving server, the mail may be flagged red. 

To elaborate more, SPF records consist of two segments: Mechanism and Qualifier.

The mechanism is the process of determining who is allowed to send an email on behalf of a domain. And qualifiers include the action applied after the mechanism is matched. Qualifiers are used to configure the SPF email policies.

DMARC: All you need to know about it

DMARC or Domain-based message authentication, reporting, and Conformance is a modern email authentication method. It protects the domain from any kind of unauthorized use. It is more beneficial for the business organizations that access DKIM and SPF.

Usually, in a DMARC process, the record requires a validation that SPF or DKIM protects the messages. Thus DKIM helps the receiver to reduce the user’s exposure to possible fake emails.

 Moreover, it allows the receiver to report back to the sender of the email describing whether it has passed the DMARC evaluation or not.

Thus, you now know what DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are and how they work. These three components help to complete the email authentication process.

They are based upon the DNS. As per the programmers, the functioning is well-managed and straightforward. And the best part is all of the service protocols are free to use for any organization.

These simple yet useful components, therefore, set a cost-efficient process to authenticate the emails.

The Takeaway
So, we hope that your doubts are now cleared with the modern features through the details.

In brief, DKIM offers a digital signature on the header; SPF is a protocol to be passed for every mail that comes to anyone, DMARC comes into use when both of the DKIM and SPF are available.

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8 Comments
  1. RobertFline

    good work

    Reply
  2. Danielfal

    Bravo

    Reply
  3. Robertarery

    DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are not the only parameters that could guarantee mail delivery, there are other things too.

    Reply
  4. Robertarery

    Great article.

    Reply
  5. JohnnyAdomy

    Very curious topic

    Reply
  6. Jeffreymax

    It was specially registered at a forum to tell to you thanks for support.

    Reply
  7. frelany

    Good info..

    Reply
  8. 7xpI

    Thoughtful insight and concepts I will use on my weblog. You’ve naturally spent a great deal of time on this. Thank you!

    Reply
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