Email is a major medium of communication for businesses. Whether it is for performing e-commerce communication and transactions with customers and suppliers or official communication with employees, emails are usually the primary tool used for the purpose.

If a website’s domain is not secure, it is vulnerable to hackers, and they can easily spoof the unsecured messages. Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerable sites and coming up with multiple ways to carry out scams like data breaching, fake user accounts and invoices, black market sales etc.

Therefore, if you do not implement strong protocols to safeguard your domain, it can pose a risk to your business. DMARC is an effective email authenticating protocol that can help a business safeguard its domain and prevent malicious attacks on its domain. It can facilitate email receiving and sending parties to work in unison to protect their email domains and prevent spam and phishing activities.

How DMARC works

When DMARC is published to your domain, it can assist you in controlling what happens if a message fails the DMARC check, i.e., the recipient’s email server cannot verify if the sender of that email is who they say they are.

Messages that are sent from what appears to be the sender’s domain are subjected to a series of authentication checks (in most instances by SPF and DKIM) and are scrutinized by the receiving email service to assess whether they have actually been sent from the domain in the message.

Therefore, DMARC is responsible for handling the issue of how the email is to be treated if it fails the verification tests. Sometimes while other authentication protocols, including SPF ((Sender Policy Framework) or DKIM (Domain keys Identified Mail), pass the email, DMARC may fail it based on its records. This is called DMARC alignment.

DMARC Records

DMARC records are published on the DNS (Domain Name Systems) and provide information on how the email sent from the domain must be handled. As DMARC uses DNS to publish the instructions or policy, all email services can decipher how the email from the domain is supposed to be managed.

Should a message fail the authentication test, the recipient’s server determines what to do with it based on the instructions sent by the DMARC records. Three kinds of approaches may be adopted.

  • The email may be sent as it is or with a warning.
  • It is quarantined and sent to the spam folder, where it is evaluated manually.
  • Alternatively, it may be rejected altogether if it fails the authentication test.

Without the security feature provided by DMARC, a business is prone to getting its domain attacked, whereby hackers may impersonate it and use it for their phishing scams or spam. So, if you want to protect your domain, DMARC is the best solution.