Domains have grown at an explosive rate over the last decade. With a decades-long history and the power to build trust, domains have long been the premier asset for businesses, online. Domain name security is a top concern for domain holders, and today’s online threats make managing domains more complex than ever. In the 1980s, the first top-level domains were established on the internet. Since then, there have been notable developments in domain name architecture, resulting in more security challenges and costs for businesses and consumers alike. Since their inception, domains have become a channel for cyberattacks and threats to online data and security. DMARC is a widely acclaimed protocol that protects your domain name and online assets from abuse and impersonation.

But before we get to that, here are three reasons why protecting your domain name should be your topmost priority starting today:

Your Domain is the Face of Your Company

Your domain is a reflection of your brand and is one of the most important online assets of your organization. The domain name is the digital address of your business and is an important part of your IP portfolio. It’s the first thing that potential customers and investors will see. Research shows that domains are now one of the most valuable elements of a company’s business, alongside intellectual property rights, easily identifiable assets, and shares. Domains are a vital part of any business’s IP portfolio, providing a long-term and authoritative presence on the Internet. It is essential to protect and renew them. Acquisition or abuse of domain names by cybercriminals can cause clients, customers, and partners to become inconsolable.

Domain Management is Not an Easy Task

Organizations now realize that their domain represents their business goals and creates that unified public face of the company that customers recognize when searching for products and services. As organizations become increasingly reliant on IP assets, domain management is likely to become more of a liability. The domains that are now the cornerstone of an organization’s security must be effectively managed, not just handled by internal IT teams. However, domain management poses its own set of security challenges. With the increasing number of domains each company owns, impersonating your organization for malicious ends becomes quite easy.

Did you know, 33% of organizations experienced cyberattacks specifically targeting their domain names in 2020?

Lack of Domain Name Security Increases the Risk of Domain Spoofing

Domain spoofing is a social engineering tactic, popular among cybercriminals of the digital age. A spoofed email domain accurately impersonates a valid domain and can be used to trick employees, customers, and partners who rely on your services. Spoofed domains are used to send fake emails to customers to perpetrate phishing attacks aimed at stealing sensitive data and bank details to launder money, or inject ransomware into their system. Suffice to say, it is extremely damaging to any business, both financially, as well as reputationally.

How to Secure Your Domain Name?

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is a mechanism letting organizations protect their domain name from impersonation, domain abuse, and spoofing. It helps stop phishing (which is the leading cause of identity theft) by creating a 100% reliable mechanism for authenticating emails that are sent from your domain. It prevents unauthorized parties from setting up email accounts using a legitimate organization’s domain name. Configuring a DMARC analyzer at your organization can provide all-around protection to your domain name, helping you make sure that your reputation remains intact and your domain can never be used for malicious purposes.

Manage Your Domains Effectively with PowerDMARC DMARC Report Analyzer

With our DMARC report analyzer, you can manage your domains across a single pane of glass, read your DMARC reports, view authentication results, and pick up on malicious activities faster. It also allows you to adjust settings on the fly for immediate changes. Whether you are a small business or enterprise, a DMARC report analyzer gives you deeper control over how you manage email authentication.

Most importantly, it gives you a single place to manage the domains that you own from multiple registrars. Our intuitive interface provides a descriptive breakdown of each failure, helping you take action against them faster than ever before.

  • It provides a single, integrated solution for reading your DMARC reports
  • It provides the ability to quickly identify anomalies in your reports.
  • With report filtering options, this powerful module will allow you to better manage your domain’s health across multiple domains across various mail servers
  • Provides a clear view of the overall picture of how your emails are protected, bounce back messages, and what malicious activities are being attempted on your domain
  • Helps you save time by knowing the full picture with a reliable and clear dashboard that gives you a simple overview of your data
  • Highlights any errors in your SPF, DKIM, BIMI, MTA-STS record and TLS-RPT.

Email authentication standards: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are showing promise in cutting down on email spoofing attempts and improving email deliverability. While differentiating spoofed (fake) emails from legitimate ones, email authentication standards go further in distinguishing if an email is legitimate by verifying the identity of the sender.

As more organizations adopt these standards, the overall message of trust and authority in email communication will begin to reassert itself. Every business that depends on email marketing, project requests, financial transactions, and the general exchange of information within or across companies needs to understand the basics of what these solutions are designed to accomplish and what benefits they can get out of them.

What is Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing is a common cybersecurity issue encountered by businesses today. In this article, we will understand how spoofing works and the various methods to fight it. We will learn about the three authentication standards used by email providers − SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to stop it from happening.

Email spoofing can be classified as an advanced social engineering attack that uses a combination of sophisticated techniques to manipulate the messaging environment and exploit legitimate features of email. These emails will often appear entirely legitimate, but they are designed with the intention of gaining access to your information and/or resources. Email spoofing is used for a variety of purposes ranging from attempts to commit fraud, to breach security, and even to try to gain access to confidential business information. As a very popular form of email forgery, spoofing attacks aim to deceive recipients into believing that an email was sent from a business they use and can trust, instead of the actual sender. As emails are increasingly being sent and received in bulk, this malicious form of email scam has increased dramatically in recent years.

How can Email Authentication Prevent Spoofing?

Email authentication helps you verify email sending sources with protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to prevent attackers from forging domain names and launch spoofing attacks to trick unsuspecting users. It provides verifiable information on email senders that can be used to prove their legitimacy and specify to receiving MTAs what to do with emails that fail authentication.

Hence, to enlist the various benefits of email authentication, we can confirm that SPF, DKIM, and DMARC aid in:

  • Protecting your domain from phishing attacks, domain spoofing, and BEC
  • Providing granular information and insights on email sending sources
  • Improving domain reputation and email deliverability rates
  • Preventing your legitimate emails from being marked as spam

How Do SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Work Together to Stop Spoofing?

Sender Policy Framework

SPF is an email authentication technique used to prevent spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. With it, you can publish authorized mail servers, giving you the ability to specify which email servers are permitted to send emails on behalf of your domain. An SPF record is stored in the DNS, listing all the IP addresses that are authorized to send mail for your organization.

If you want to leverage SPF in a way that would ensure its proper functioning, you need to ensure that SPF doesn’t break for your emails. This could happen in case you exceed the 10 DNS lookup limit, causing SPF permerror. SPF flattening can help you stay under the limit and authenticate your emails seamlessly.

DomainKeys Identified Mail

Impersonating a trusted sender can be used to trick your recipient into letting their guard down. DKIM is an email security solution that adds a digital signature to every message that comes from your customer’s inbox, allowing the receiver to verify that it was indeed authorized by your domain and enter your site’s trusted list of senders.

DKIM affixes a unique hash value, linked to a domain name, to each outgoing email message, allowing the receiver to check that an email claiming to have come from a specific domain was indeed authorized by the owner of that domain or not. This ultimately helps to pick up on spoofing attempts.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance

Simply implementing SPF and DKIM can help verify sending sources but isn’t effective enough to stop spoofing on their own. In order to stop cybercriminals from delivering fake emails to your recipients, you need to implement DMARC today. DMARC helps you align email headers to verify email From addresses, exposing spoofing attempts and fraudulent use of domain names. Moreover, it gives domain owners the power to specify to email receiving servers how to respond to emails failing SPF and DKIM authentication. Domain owners can choose to deliver, quarantine, and reject fake emails based on the degree of DMARC enforcement they need.

Note: Only a DMARC policy of reject allows you to stop spoofing.

Additionally, DMARC also offers a reporting mechanism to provide domain owners with visibility on their email channels and authentication results. By configuring your DMARC report analyzer, you can monitor your email domains on a regular basis with detailed information on email sending sources, email authentication results, geolocations of fraudulent IP addresses, and the overall performance of your emails. It helps you parse your DMARC data into an organized and readable format, and take action against attackers faster.

Ultimately, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can work together to help you catapult your organization’s email security to new heights, and stop attackers from spoofing your domain name to safeguard your organization’s reputation and credibility.

If you’ve been following the DMARC conversation in the industry, you probably have lots of questions. Why do we need DMARC? How does it help prevent domain spoofing? We are here to answer all of it. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is the technology that helps authenticate legitimate email and helps prevent spoofing. DMARC also provides insight into your email marketing efforts and stops your domain from being used by cyber-criminals. It allows email receivers to authenticate, report on and enforce policy around emails sent from domain names they don’t control.

DMARC is a vital defense against Domain spoofing, cyber-threats like phishing attacks as well as increasing transparency into the emails you send. DMARC improves your digital brand protection and the overall deliverability of your email marketing programs by differentiating legitimate emails from fraudulent ones.

Which Businesses Should Use DMARC?

The answer is quite simple. All. Irrespective of your company size or industry, in the current situation each and every organization needs information security and domain protection. Most businesses (knowingly or unknowingly) have already deployed SPF and DKIM to protect their email domains, but only an estimated one-third have actually implemented DMARC to stop spoofing. This is because of a lack of awareness of secure protocols and living in a state of constant denial, assuming that your domain is safe no matter what. That is until you fall prey to the next major email scam attack and lose a huge chunk of your subscribers and customers.

Another popular misconception is that DMARC is difficult to implement. Implementing DMARC for your domain, in reality, requires you to simply publish a DMARC record in your DNS with a one-line syntax. The difficult part is managing and monitoring your domains, especially if you have quite a few of them like every other business does. However, that too is manageable now! You can initiate your DMARC journey with our DMARC Analyzer, which is engineered to simplify your DMARC adoption process. We help you:

  • Generate and publish your DMARC records
  • Register your domains easily
  • Shift to an enforced policy within the least time
  • Gain 100% DMARC compliance on the total volume of emails sent from your domain

What’s in it for Your Business?

To answer the question “why do we need DMARC?” it is essential to isolate the several benefits it provides to growing businesses. Powered by DMARC, it means that your organization will be better protected from phishing and spoofing. DMARC prevents phishers from using your domain to spoof legitimate emails and trick your customers into handing over their usernames and passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive information. 90% of the organizations using DMARC have claimed to witness a boost in their email deliverability rate within a very short period of having implemented the protocol.

But that’s not all. While some emails you send to your followers may be determined as spam by their email providers, DMARC is a security feature that helps prevent this from happening. In addition to preventing the spoofing of your domain, DMARC allows you to ensure that your legitimate marketing emails have a higher chance of landing in your recipients’ inboxes. If not for the altruistic reasons of ensuring email delivery, implementing DMARC will definitely result in a better ROI on your email marketing campaigns, and improve your domain reputation.

Read Your DMARC Reports Easily with PowerDMARC

When you configure DMARC at your organization, you have the option of specifying to your receivers’ ESPs, to send you DMARC reports. These reports are crucial to monitor your email flow, gain visibility on failed deliveries and the status of each email’s authentication results.

But the raw reports are sent as XML files that are tough to read and understand. Our DMARC Report Analyzer is engineered to extract DMARC reports from your ESPs and assemble them across a single pane of glass. We parse the data for you, organize and manage them, and present them in a human-readable format that anyone can understand. We also allow you to download the data in a comprehensive PDF format to share with your employees.

Our interactive dashboard provides information on a higher level that can be read at a glance, as well as granular details on your sending sources so you can track malicious IP addresses faster.

Get your DMARC record checker today to analyze and improve loopholes in your domain’s security!

Do you know how secure your domain is? Most organizations operate with the assumption that their domains are highly secure and in a short while, they learn it isn’t the case. One of the tell-tale signs of a low security score is if your domain name is being spoofed – this means that someone is using your domain in order to impersonate you (or create confusion) and fool email recipients. But why should you care? Because these spoofing activities can potentially endanger your reputation. 

In a world full of domain impersonators, email domain spoofing shouldn’t be something that companies take lightly. Those who do could be putting themselves, as well as their clients at risk. A domain’s security rating can have a huge effect on whether or not you get targeted by phishers looking to make a quick buck or to use your domain and brand to spread ransomware without you being aware!

Check your domain’s security rating with our Free DMARC Lookup tool. You may be surprised by what you learn!

How Do Attackers Spoof Your Domain?

Email spoofing can occur when an attacker uses a forged identity of a legitimate source, usually with the intent of impersonating another person or masquerading as an organization. It can be carried out by:

Manipulating the domain name: Attackers can use your domain name to send emails to your unsuspecting recipients who can fall prey to their malicious intentions. Popularly known as direct-domain spoofing attacks, these attacks are especially harmful to a brand’s reputation and how your customers perceive your emails.

Forging the email domain or address: wherein attackers exploit loopholes in existing email security protocols to send emails on behalf of a legitimate domain. The success rate of such attacks is higher as attackers use third-party email exchange services to carry out their malicious activities that do not verify the origin of email sending sources.

Since domain verification wasn’t built into the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the protocol that email is built on,email authentication protocols that were developed more recently, such as DMARC, provide greater verification.

How Can a Low Domain Security Impact Your Organization?

Since most organizations transmit and receive data through emails, there must be a secure connection to protect the company’s brand image. However, in case of low email security, it can lead to disaster for both enterprises and individuals. Email remains one of the most widely used communication platforms. Email sent out from a data breach or hack can be devastating for your organization’s reputation. Using email can also result in the spread of malicious attacks, malware, and spam. Therefore, there is a huge need for revising how security controls are deployed within email platforms.

In 2020 alone, brand impersonation accounted for 81% of all phishing attacks, while a single spear-phishing attack resulted in an average loss of $1.6 million. Security researchers are predicting the numbers to potentially double by the end of 2021. This adds more pressure on organizations to improve their email security at the earliest.

While multinational enterprises are more open to the idea of adopting email security protocols, small businesses and SMEs are still reluctant. This is because it’s a common myth that SMEs do not fall in the potential target radar of cyber attackers. That, however, is untrue. Attackers target organizations based on the vulnerabilities and loopholes in their email security posture, rather than the size of the organization, making any organization with poor domain security a potential target.

Learn how you can get a higher domain security rating with our email security rating guide.

Leverage Authentication Protocols to Gain Maximum Domain Security

While checking your domain’s email security rating, a low score can be due to the following factors:

  • You don’t have email authentication protocols like SPF, DMARC, and DKIM deployed within your organization
  • You have deployed the protocols but have not enforced them for your domain
  • You have errors in your authentication records
  • You have not enabled DMARC reporting to gain visibility on your email channels
  • Your emails in transit and server communication are not secured over TLS encryption with MTA-STS
  • You have not implemented SMTP TLS reporting to get notified on issues in email delivery
  • You have not configured BIMI for your domain to improve your brand recollection
  • You have not resolved SPF permerror with dynamic SPF flattening

All of these contribute to making your domain more and more vulnerable to email fraud, impersonation, and domain abuse.

PowerDMARC is your one-stop email authentication SaaS platform that brings all the authentication protocols (DMARC, SPF, DKIM, MTA-STS, TLS-RPT, BIMI) across a single pane of glass to make your emails safe again and improve your domain’s email security posture. Our DMARC analyzer simplifies protocol implementation by handling all the complexities in the background and automating the process for domain users. This helps you leverage your authentication protocols to unleash their maximum potential and get the best out of your security solutions.

Sign up for your free DMARC report analyzer today to get a high domain security rating and protection against spoofing attacks.