DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are email authentication and security protocols that protect your brand and email marketing delivery.
DKIM is like a signature on your email, ensuring it hasn't been tampered with and is genuinely from the claimed sender. SPF acts as an approved list for email domains, verifying the sender's email server can send emails from that domain. DMARC plays the supervisor role, checking to make sure both SPF and DKIM are aligned. If they're not, DMARC can take action, such as marking the email as suspicious or blocking it. It is crucial to remember that DMARC can only be used on domains with SPF and DKIM enabled.
By implementing all three together, organizations can enhance their email security and protect against various email-based attacks.
How DKIM Works
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) attaches a digital signature to the message header, which mailbox providers can authenticate to confirm that the email came from a reliable source and remained unaltered during transmission. It's a way to verify the authenticity of email senders.
- DKIM focuses on email integrity and sender authenticity.
- It adds a digital signature to the email, created with a private key, to verify that it has not been altered during transmission and genuinely comes from the stated sender domain.
- It helps prevent email spoofing and phishing by confirming the email's authenticity.
How SPF Works
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) enables email systems to authenticate that messages sent from a domain are from a server authorized by its administrators. It helps ensure that emails from a particular sender (like a company or a website) are only accepted if they come from the approved list of email servers associated with that sender.
- SPF focuses on preventing email spoofing by specifying which mail servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of a particular domain.
- It uses DNS records to specify which IP addresses or domains can send emails to a specific domain.
- SPF doesn't address the email's content but verifies the email's source based on the sender's IP address.
How DMARC Works
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) tells email servers how to check incoming emails for fakes and impostors. If an email fails these checks, it can be marked as suspicious or even thrown out, keeping your inbox safer from phishing and scams.
- DMARC builds on SPF and DKIM to provide a comprehensive email authentication framework.
- It allows domain owners to set policies for handling emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks. These policies can include monitoring, quarantining, or outright rejecting suspicious emails.
- DMARC also enables reporting to track email authentication results and helps domain owners gain better control over their email deliverability and security.