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What is DMARC and How Does It Improve Your Security?

DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, is an email authentication protocol used to prevent email domain spoofing. Attackers often use illegitimate means to send malicious emails using domain names of trusted brands or individuals. The email might ask the receiver to click on an unsafe link or enter their login information. The receiver often isn’t able to tell the difference between a genuine email and a fake one, putting sensitive company data at a huge risk. 

Existing protocols like SPF and DKIM are effective in blocking out a lot of bad email, but they have their limitations:

  • Each protocol works independently, so an email might fail SPF authentication but pass DKIM, or vice versa, muddling the results.

  • Email receiving servers are not instructed by domain owners on how to handle their emails if they fail SPF or DKIM tests.

  • The domain owner has no way of getting reports or feedback if their domain is being used by unauthorised parties.

But what if there were a way to fix all those problems? A one-stop-shop that equips you against domain spoofing and tells you what to do if you’re a target for email spammers? That’s what DMARC is here to do. 

How Does DMARC Work?

DMARC leverages existing SPF and DKIM protocols and builds on them to give you a robust email protection mechanism. But it has one major advantage over these: it provides reporting functionality to domain owners so they’re aware of emails being sent through their domain. However, the data it generates is in XML format, which isn’t easy to decipher. PowerDMARC takes care of that. Our simple, user-friendly application extracts the data from those complex raw XML files into charts and tables you can easily read and understand. 

But in order to implement DMARC, you need to have a valid DMARC record, which is published on your DNS. This allows email receiving servers to identify spammers and spoofers and decide what mail to allow or reject. You can instantly generate your own DMARC records with our Power Toolbox. We offer this suite of tools for you to check and generate records for DMARC, SPF, DKIM, BIMI, MTA-STS and TLS-RPT, and it’s completely free.

How Does DMARC Prevent Domain Spoofing?

DMARC helps you safeguard your email in multiple ways:

  • It uses both SPF and DKIM validation to secure email. If the email does not pass either, it fails DMARC.

  • Domain owners get a report that informs them if their email passed or failed evaluation. They can then look into the failure to see if an unauthorised third party has been sending emails using their domain name. 

  • Depending on the authentication test, DMARC will tell the receiving mail server how to handle emails that don’t pass. According to the domain owner’s specifications, the email may be: allowed to go to inbox (p=none); quarantined (p=quarantine); or outright rejected (p=reject).

Phishing-based attacks cause more than 90% of data breaches in businesses. But now there’s a solution to that. DMARC is the next step in protecting your company’s information, a new paradigm in data security. 

PowerDMARC is the author of this solution article.

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