DKIM for Email: What It Is, How It Works, and Tips to Avoid Email spoofing

DKIM for Email: What It Is, How It Works, and Tips to Avoid Email spoofing

We'll explain the details of what DKIM is for email and why your business needs DKIM, and how it functions, and how to set up DKIM in place, as well as further ways to avoid emails from being spoofed.

What exactly is DKIM?

To begin, let's define the meaning of DKIM in emails. DomainKeys identified mail is a method that uses your domain's address to sign your email messages with an electronic "signature" to let your clients verify that you are the one sending these emails and that they're not altered during transport.

Why is DKIM Important?

DKIM can improve email delivery efficiency and is compatible with Sender Policy Framework ( SPF) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting as well as Conformance ( DMARC) to protect against the spoofing of emails.

It's when a scammer sends an email that appears like it was sent by someone else using a fake sender address. For instance, fraudsters may send employees emails that look like they're via your chief executive. Also, they could send emails to your customers who appear to be from you.

By doing this, fraudsters can trick people into sending sensitive information--including login credentials and financial information. Email spoofing is commonly used in phishing, spear-phishing as well as emails that compromise business accounts.

For more details on the way DKIM, SPF, and DMARC collaborate and how they interact, go through our book How to Get Started on DMARC to shield yourself from impersonations via email, which can cause financial harm to your business and your clients, as well as for the public at large. This can also destroy the trust you have in your brand.

In terms of delivery, specific mail receiving servers require email messages to have SPF or DKIM signatures. If they don't, the emails could be considered suspicious and be flagged as spam even if they're not entirely blocked. DKIM will also increase the delivery of emails you send.

What Does DKIM Do Its Work?

DKIM employs asymmetric encryption to create a public and private essential pairing. Public keys are released as a TXT file in the DNS of the domain that is sending, and private keys are used to generate your signature unique to every email.

Utilizing your private key and the content in your email message, a secure system creates a unique signature that is part of the headers of the email.

If the outbound server delivers a message, the server creates and adds a unique DKIM signature header for the email message. The header contains two cryptographic hashes: one of the specified headers and at least some part of the message body. The DKIM header is also a source of details about exactly how this signature was made.

If the SMTP server gets an email with this identifier in the header, it will ask the domain that sent the email in search of the record with the public TXT key. Using the public key, the server receiving the email will determine whether the email was delivered from the domain from which it was sent and not altered during the transit.

If the test fails or the signature doesn't exist, the email service provider could label an email unreliable or stop the sender's IP address entirely. This makes it difficult for scammers to create emails that appear to come from your address.

Additional Tips to Avoid Email spoofing

Additionally to DKIM and BIMI, SPF, DMARC, and BIMI can further stop email spoofing and increase the ability to deliver emails.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an authentication method for email that lets domain owners define which servers are authorized by their domain to send emails to their domain's "Make From" addresses. SPF lets receiving email systems check DNS to get the authorized servers for a particular domain. If an email is delivered through an authorized server, the recipient can confirm that the message is legitimate.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an authentication method for email that functions as a policy layer to SPF as well as DKIM to assist email receiving systems detect that an email doesn't originate from domains that are approved by a business and give instructions to systems that receive email about how to securely get rid of any email that is not authorized.

The Brand Indicators For messages Identification ( BIMI) is an email specification that works with DMARC to permit firms to have their logos shown in the email message within the recipient's email client. This increases the visibility of your brand in an inbox full of and confirms that the email is authentic and originates from a reliable source.

Automate, Or Else?

Applying DKIM, SPF, DMARC, or BIMI to one domain can take only several minutes. However, applying them to all domains within an organization's email system is time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive--especially when dealing with thousands of domains spread across a multitude of divisions and third-party email partners.

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