Implement DMARC the Right Way to Keep Phishing Attacks Out of Inbox

Implement DMARC the Right Way to Keep Phishing Attacks Out of Inbox

Sep 3, 2021, 8:16:17 AM Tech and Science

DMARC (Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication standard or protocol that determines whether an email is authentic or not. It relies on SPF and DKIM, two other protocols, to decide the authentication status of an email. DMARC provides visibility of the sources sending emails from an organization’s domain, ensures better email deliverability, and, most importantly, provides security against domain spoofing, phishing, and impersonation attacks.

Implement DMARC

DMARC Policies

  • None policy

It is the simplest DMARC policy. It allows emails that fail the authentication check to go to the recipient’s inbox or other folders. In other words, it allows an organization’s email traffic to continue flowing as it always has. However, with this policy, you can start receiving reports on your domain usage and get familiar with the working of DMARC.

  • Quarantine policy

When defining this policy, you essentially tell email senders that messages with failed authentication should be shipped off to the spam or junk folder. It is recommended as the second stage in DMARC’s implementation since it prevents the misuse of your domain for malicious purposes and still permits you to have command over false alerts, which are authentic messages that have been obstructed because of a misconfiguration.

  • Reject policy

This policy is considered the final stage in DMARC’s configuration and is recommended only if you have experience with the first two policies. It requires a higher level of maturity from the company so that legitimate emails don’t get marked as false alerts. It completely blocks emails with authentication failures. From a cybersecurity perspective, it is the most efficient DMARC policy that prevents cybercriminals from exploiting your business’s domain.

It has become absolutely necessary to implement DMARC at your organization ever since the shift from office working to remote working occurred in 2020. 

Here are a few ways in which you can ensure that you have implemented DMARC correctly and optimally:

  1. Shift to a Reject Policy

A none policy won’t fulfill the objective of protecting your domain from spoofing or phishing. Thus, it is imperative that you implement a DMARC enforcement policy of ‘reject’ or ‘quarantine’. The said policy can help enable maximum protection against spoofing and fend off cyberattacks.

2. Monitor DMARC for your Domain

DMARC provides domain owners with reports containing information on an email’s authentication, its original sending sources, authorized IP addresses, hostnames, domain activity, etc. These reports are sent in an XML file format and are a gold mine of crucial data.

3. Implement SPF and DKIM in alignment with DMARC

It is recommended to configure SPF and DKIM in alignment with DMARC due to the following reasons:

  • Through SPF, senders can specify which IP addresses are allowed to send emails using a specific domain.
  • DKIM provides an encryption key as well as a digital signature that ensures that an email message is not forged or tampered with.
  • DMARC combines SPF and DKIM authentication procedures and allows domain owners to specify how an email from their domain should be handled if it fails authentication.

4. Adhere to SPF Hard Limits

A maximum of 10 DNS lookups is allowed by the RFC for SPF. It is nearly impossible for organizations to stay under the limit unless they have third-party help. SPF flattening helps organizations stay under the set limit and ensures email security and deliverability for a smooth email authentication experience.

5. Boost Domain Security Rating

The most important factor in cybersecurity is a domain’s security rating, which is negatively impacted by syntactical errors, authentication records, or mismatched policy modes. These errors can make your domain more vulnerable to phishing scams and spoof attacks. You should, therefore, regularly check your domain’s usage and improve your DMARC, SPF, DKIM, and BIMI records.

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Published by nimisha rawat

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