Email Security: Understanding SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

For any organization, an email system is one of the most important aspects of their business. It is a primary means of communication and often carries lots of information. This makes it a common target for cyber threats, and it comes as no surprise that 90% of the breaches can be traced back to phishing attacks.

Individuals, organizations, and businesses that use email are all potential targets for cyberattacks. To fight these threats, organizations employ various email authentication and security protocols, including DMARC, SPF, and DKIM.

In this blog, we will try to explore these protocols in detail, what their role is, and how they work together to improve email security.

Understanding SPF, DKIM, and DMARC:

Sender Policy Framework (SPF): is an email authentication process for finding out whether a mail server is authorized to deliver email for a sending domain in DNS. When an email is received, the recipient’s mail server can check the SPF record of the sender’s domain to verify its authenticity.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): is a process for digitally signing and authenticating email messages as coming from an email server authorized to send email to the originating domain. DKIM signatures enable email providers to authenticate on behalf of the email domain owners.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC): is an email authentication protocol that helps define the appropriate response to receiving an email that fails to authenticate using SPF and DKIM.

How They Work Together:

SPF: SPF checks if the email message originated from an authorized mail server for the sender’s domain.

DKIM: DKIM verifies the authenticity of the email message by checking its digital signature.

DMARC: The DMARC policy provides instructions on how the receiver should handle email messages that fail authentication. It also provides reporting mechanisms to monitor and improve email authentication practices.

All three protocols must be used and implemented together to get the best results, and DMARC reports must be regularly monitored to identify the unauthorized use of your domain and improve the email authentication process.

It is important to note that whereas the discussed technological control is a must, cybersecurity awareness of the users plays an equally significant role. Users must be made aware of how to recognize phishing emails to prevent cyberattacks

Our comprehensive security awareness tool, SecAware, is designed to empower employees with the knowledge they need to recognize and respond to phishing emails. This includes understanding the latest phishing tactics, and recognizing social engineering attempts.

Cybersec Knights is one of the best cybersecurity companies in India, working towards the objective of building a cyber-safe environment for our clients. Not only can we help you implement the above-discussed controls and make your employees aware of how to identify phishing attacks, but we can also help you monitor DMARC reports to identify any issues or anomalies. We can analyze the reports and provide recommendations for improving email authentication practices.

REACH OUT to us today to start your journey to becoming cyber-resilient.