How to Read DMARC Reports in 2023?
What is a DMARC Report?
DMARC report is a feedback mechanism that provides domain owners with information about the messages that pass or fail DMARC authentication for their domain. Before we get to how to read DMARC reports let’s first get to know what is a DMARC report. Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) does not only protect your domain against BEC, domain impersonation, and email fraud attacks, it also provides you visibility into your email channels, so that you are always aware of what is going on in the background.
DMARC provides a reporting mechanism, in the form of DMARC reports that allows domain owners to read authentication results for every email that is sent on behalf of their domain. This essentially helps you track deliverability issues, take action against malicious sending sources and resolve protocol implementation errors promptly.
DMARC Reports & Deliverability in 2023
When you gain enhanced visibility on your email authentication data, you can troubleshoot existing errors in your email exchange system more promptly. More often than not, when organizations send emails in bulk, due to misconfigured security protocols a lot of these marketing and business emails get lost in transit.
What does this mean? This means that your company misses out on a lot of potential customers who may have been interested in interacting with your products.
Monitoring your domains with the help of DMARC reports is an effective way to ensure that the emails you send out inevitably reach your clients.
Types of DMARC Reports
There are two main types of DMARC reports:
1. Aggregate DMARC Reports
These reports provide an overview of the DMARC activity for a particular domain over a specified time period. Aggregate DMARC reports include information such as the number of messages that passed or failed DMARC authentication, the IP addresses of the sending servers, and the authentication mechanisms used.
2. Forensic DMARC Reports
These reports provide detailed information about individual email messages that failed DMARC authentication. Forensic DMARC reports include the entire email message and information about the authentication status and the reason for failure. These reports can be used to investigate specific instances of email fraud or abuse.
Both types of DMARC reports can be generated in various formats, including XML, CSV, and JSON. The format of the report depends on the preferences of the domain owner or their DMARC service provider. Some email receivers may also provide DMARC failure reports to the domain owner, which contain information about messages that failed DMARC authentication and were rejected or quarantined.
Why Do You Need DMARC Reports?
Before we get to how to read DMARC reports, let’s understand why you need it in the first place:
1. Monitor Email Authentication
DMARC reports provide domain owners with visibility into the authentication status of email messages sent on their behalf. By monitoring DMARC reports, domain owners can ensure that only authorized senders are using their domain and identify any unauthorized use of their domain.
2. Improve Email Deliverability
DMARC reports can help domain owners improve email deliverability by identifying authentication issues that may be causing their messages to be marked as spam or rejected. Domain owners can use this information to correct authentication issues and improve their email reputation.
3. Identify Phishing and Spoofing Attacks
DMARC reports can help domain owners identify phishing and spoofing attacks that use their domain name to deceive recipients. By analyzing DMARC reports, domain owners can identify patterns and trends in email activity that may indicate malicious activity.
4. Meet Regulatory Requirements
Some industries, such as healthcare and finance, are required to implement email authentication protocols like DMARC to protect sensitive information. DMARC reports can provide evidence that these organizations are complying with regulatory requirements and taking steps to protect their email infrastructure.
5. Collaborate with Email Service Providers
DMARC reports can be shared with email service providers to identify and mitigate email authentication issues. By working together, domain owners and email service providers can improve email deliverability and protect against phishing and spoofing attacks.
Now we will cover how to read DMARC raw reports, and how you can make them human-readable for your ease of understanding.
How to enable DMARC reporting for your domains?
In order to configure the DMARC report for your domain you need to:
- Create a DMARC record for your domain
- While creating your record, in the “rua” criterion, you need to enter the email address to which you want your aggregate reports to be sent
- In the “ruf” criterion, you need to enter the email address to which you want your forensic reports to be sent
- After you have successfully filled up the other criteria and hit the “generate” button, the AI will create a TXT record for you to publish on your DNS
Note: DMARC forensic reports are not supported by all domains. Learn more.
How to Read DMARC Reports: Reading DMARC Raw Reports
Your DMARC reports, also called raw reports, provide essential data about email activity on your domain that are necessary to help protect you against future phishing attacks. They’re available in XML format and they’re usually sent by email with the subject “DMARC Report.” There are essentially two types of reports:
- DMARC Aggregate (RUA) Report
- DMARC Forensic (RUF) Report
You can visit PoweDMARC’s knowledge base to learn more about each of them and how to configure them for your domain easily.
Reading DMARC RUA reports can be a bit of a hassle for a non-technical person, here is an example of a raw report:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
Breaking Down a DMARC Raw Report
Let’s take you through the various sections of the report to help you understand how to read DMARC reports, what they stand for and how to read it. In the raw file for your reports, you can find information about:
- Your ISP, the name of your email service provider
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
- The report ID number
- The beginning and ending date range (in seconds)
- Your DMARC record specifications as published in your domain’s DNS
- IP address of the sending source
- An overview of your authentication results (SPF and DKIM pass/fail result summary)
- From: domain
- DKIM authentication results
- SPF authentication results
PowerDMARC’s Human-Readable DMARC Reports
As you have probably already understood, while DMARC reports are extremely important to monitor your organization’s email flow and view authentication results, they are not very pleasing to the eyes. With DMARC reports flooding your inboxes every day, you wouldn’t want the pain to go through them and analyze them line by line, fishing for useful information. Here we will talk about how to read DMARC reports more easily with PowerDMARC.
This is why PowerDMARC helps you view your DMARC Aggregate RUA reports easily in an organized tabular format, parsing data and segregating information into categories with the option to filter data according to IP addresses, organizations, sending sources, and specific stats.
Using a Dedicated Mailbox VS Using PowerDMARC’s DMARC Report Reader
In order to organize your DMARC reports more easily and efficiently, you can maintain a dedicated mailbox wherein you can redirect all the DMARC reports you receive from various third parties and email vendors that you use for sending your marketing and business emails. If you are an enterprise that has a steady flow of emails (in bulk) to your clientele on a daily basis, not configuring a dedicated mailbox to assemble your data under a single banner can make it almost impossible to keep a tab on them.
However, note that a dedicated mailbox for your reports will only help you organize and manage your data better, it will not help you parse or read the XML files, and will not provide a user-friendly or actionable interface for viewing, sorting, or filtering your authentication results.
Perks of configuring PowerDMARC’s DMARC Reports:
- On the dashboard, you can view DMARC RUA reports in 7 distinct viewing formats, to view results: per organization, per result, per sending source, per host, per country, according to geo-locations, and segregate detailed stats.
- Enter domain(s) of your choice to filter results for that particular domain only in the search bar
- Select a specific date range to filter results for that timeline
- Bright color scheme and interactive dashboard that helps you understand your authentication results at a glance when in a hurry, as well as in great detail.
Sign up today to get your free DMARC analyzer!
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