Why You Need DMARC to Secure Email against Spoofing Attacks & Sender Fraud
- by Brittany Day
In this era of sophisticated modern cyberattacks, how can you be sure that the email in your inbox is really from your bank? Can the link within it really be trusted?
Avoiding this uncertainty is exactly what sender fraud protection through the implementation of the DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) anti-phishing and anti-spoofing protocol is designed to do. This article will explain how DMARC helps combat sender forgeries, and will explore how to secure the inbox against fraudulent emails that may result in attacks on your organization leading to data theft, fraudulent wire transfers, significant, expensive downtime and severe, lasting reputation damage.
Email Spoofing: A Favorite Tactic among Cyber Criminals
Email Spoofing - a form of email fraud in which a malicious actor sends an email with a fraudulent “From” address - is a tactic frequently used in phishing attacks and other malicious email scams. In a spoofing attack, the sender forges an email header so that the client software displays the fraudulent sender address, which most users take at face value. By masquerading as an individual or organization that the recipient knows and trusts, attackers are more likely to trick users into disclosing sensitive information, as recipients are more likely to click on a malicious URL, share credentials, install malware or wire corporate funds when it appears as if an email is from a known and trusted sender. Having an effective strategy in place to protect against email spoofing is critical in safeguarding users and key business assets, as spoofing is a technique that is used in the majority of modern phishing scams, which account for over 90% of all cyberattacks.
What Is DMARC & How Does It Protect against Sender Fraud?
DMARC is an email authentication protocol - or standard put in place for systems or devices to better communicate - used to verify sender identity and confirm the legitimacy of email communications. It helps senders and recipients work together to create more secure email communications by adding an “identity check” to all inbound messages. DMARC helps maintain "domain reputation", which can be used by providers and recipients to determine whether an email received from a sender actually came from that sender and not a spoofed address.
DMARC enables a sender to indicate that their messages are protected with SPF (an open standard that specifies a method for preventing sender address forgery) and/or DKIM (a TXT record published in an organization’s Domain Name System that provides a method for validating a domain name identity associated with a message through cryptographic authentication). DMARC applies clear instructions for the recipient to follow if an email does not pass SPF or DKIM authentication (reject, junk, etc.), and sends a report back to the sender about messages that PASS and/or FAIL DMARC evaluation. An email passing both SPF and DKIM authentications indicates that the message is coming from an authorized server and that the header information has not been tampered with to falsify alignment. An email passing at least one of the two authentication protocols proves that the sender owns the Domain Name System (DNS) space of the “Friendly-From” - the name and address that indicate how the sender wants to be identified - and is therefore who they claim to be.
In order to be truly effective in combating spoofing and sender fraud, DMARC should be implemented as part of a multi-layered email security solution managed by a provider with an in-depth understanding of how this protocol can be leveraged most effectively as one component of a defense-in-depth approach to protecting sensitive information and preventing email fraud.
Implementing DMARC as part of a multi-layered strategy to fortify business email is critical in protecting against phishing, spoofing and other attacks that employ sender forgery to deceive users into disclosing sensitive information.
Email risk has been drastically heightened due to the pandemic, and this elevated risk will persist in years to come, as cyber thieves now have mechanisms in place to distribute attacks exploiting the latest trends with the proliferation of inadequate secured cloud email. No organization can afford to overlook the importance of having DMARC in place as part of a comprehensive email defense strategy, as an attack or breach can result in significant, costly downtime, data theft, lost client trust, or worse - permanent business closure.
We’re here to help! Interested in learning more about how you can implement DMARC to the fullest to secure your users and key business assets in this heightened digital threat environment? Let’s Get in Touch>
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