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What is DMARC?

What is DMARC?

Email plays a very prominent role in the business environment of today's digital and interconnected world. But unfortunately, when email protocols were developed, security was a secondary concern and no effort was made to prevent people from sending emails on behalf of others. DMARC is an email protocol system designed to address this problem by ensuring that only a set of authorized sources can send emails on behalf of an organization.

 

Implementing DMARC offers several benefits to your organization.

  • When you receive an email from a colleague, you can rest assured that it is really from your colleague and not from a hacker. Most people think that verifying the email's from address is enough. Unfortunately, that's only the case if your organization has DMARC compliance.

  • It protects your reputation by ensuring that hackers cannot send false/malicious emails on behalf of you and your colleagues to your customers and business associates.

  • Implementing DMARC also improves the delivery speed of your emails to your customer's inboxes.

  • DMARC provides complete visibility into your entire email traffic, helping to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities and legacy configurations.

How does DMARC work?

DMARC does not define a new way to authenticate emails, but instead uses the two pre-existing and well-established email authentication standards SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail).

Simply put, DMARC is a way of informing all recipients that any email received that appears to be coming from your organization must be verified through at least one of the two standards mentioned above (SPF and DKIM). This is to make the implementation of DMARC easier and to prevent any disruption to the flow of e-mail traffic.

The DMARC standard has a built-in control mechanism. You can set up a mailbox in which you receive daily reports from all parties that receive e-mails that appear to come from your organization. These reports contain information about where each email comes from and what the SPF and DKIM status is. By analyzing these reports, you can find out which systems are sending emails on behalf of your organizations and whether SPF and DKIM are configured correctly for each source.

How do I get started with DMARC analysis?

  • As first step, you can check whether your domain is already sufficiently secured. You can use Kevlarr's spoof testing tool to check the DMARC status of your domains. This tool not only informs you about your DMARC status, but also allows you to experience email spoofing for yourself.

  • The next step in your organization's DMARC journey is DMARC monitoring. Before adopting a strong DMARC policy, you must fully understand the nature of your email traffic. What are the legitimate email sources that send emails on your behalf? Does each source implement DKIM and SPF? DMARC monitoring helps you to get a ​​complete picture of your e-mail traffic, without any risk of disrupting your e-mail traffic.

  • After implementing SPF and DKIM for all identified resources, through DMARC monitoring, your organization is finally ready to implement a ​​strong DMARC policy and end to the continuous abuse by the hackers.

DMARC monitoring is not a security measure, but a tracking system

Our research shows that many organizations enable DMARC monitoring, but never take the next step towards full DMARC compliance. Unfortunately, monitoring alone would not improve your organization's email security. We list three reasons for you.

 

  • Unfortunately, the frequency of attacks on any reasonably well-known medium-sized (or larger) organization is so high that organizations become impervious to attacks. Most of the organizations we have seen are attacked on a weekly basis. Some more well-known organizations are attacked several times a day.

  • If not all email sources of an organization are DKIM and SPF compliant. It is very difficult to distinguish between legitimate e-mail traffic and an attack.

  • When there is an inherent 24 hour delay in DMARC reporting. Your organization only learns from an attack afterwards.

Why is an antispam filter/Secure Email Gateway (SEG) not sufficient?

There is a common misconception that a powerful Secure Email Gateway (SEG) is an alternative to implementing DMARC. But in fact, Secure Email Gateways and DMARC are complementary to each other.

 

Anti-spam solutions usually work on incoming emails (although some of the more advanced solutions will also work on some of your organization's outgoing emails). When a hacker sends an email to one of your customers on your behalf, your organization's anti-spam solution cannot intercept that email.

Even your customer's anti-spam can't stop a well-crafted spoof email. This is given that an advanced spoof email is technically indistinguishable from some of the most common legitimate business emails, such as a calendar invite or an email from your CRM tool if you don't have DMARC .

Full DMARC compliance with Kevlarr

Kevlarr has several offerings to help your organization achieve full DMARC compliance depending on your needs:

 

  • Full-service email security: in this plan, DMARC analysis is completely taken off your hands. Our cybersecurity experts regularly analyze your email traffic, identify your email sources, and work closely with your IT department/IT partner(s) to secure each of them to quickly achieve DMARC compliance, while ensuring that there is no disruption to your business.

  • AI-powered Advanced Monitoring: This plan provides access to an easy-to-use dashboard that helps your security officer/system administrator analyze DMARC monitoring data. The noise is filtered out through artificial intelligence and by showing exactly what needs your attention.

  • Basic Monitoring: This free plan helps your ​​security expert by collecting and presenting DMARC surveillance data in an easy-to-use manner. Analyzing and acting on the DMARC surveillance data is the sole responsibility of the user.

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