For decades, businesses of all sizes have been plagued by email phishing campaigns. Despite preventative technology and educational training, the problem persists. But, it doesn’t have to. In the latest issue of Cyber Defense Magazine, WatchGuard Senior Threat Analyst Marc Laliberte breaks down the three major email authentication technology standards: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. In a nutshell, these solutions dramatically cut down on phishing and spam emails by verifying that the sender of a message is actually who they claim to be, and automatically quarantining or rejecting messages if they’re not.
For a preview of the major email authentication standards Marc outlines in this article, check out this excerpt:
“DKIM works by first naming a few important parts of the message to protect, usually including the FROM and TO headers, the subject header, the date header, and even the message body itself. The sending mail server then computes a cryptographic hash of the chosen sections and then encrypts it using a private key, creating a digital signature. The digital signature and a few informational fields are added back to the message as a special DKIM-Signature message header before the message is sent. Because the corresponding public key is published in a DNS TXT record for the sending domain, recipient mail servers can decrypt the hash and verify it, confirming the protected fields were not spoofed or modified in message transit.”
Read Part 1 of Marc’s anti-phishing series today in Cyber Defense Magazine and stay tuned next month for Part 2, in which Marc will explore the main reasons why these standards aren’t more broadly used and potential solutions for increasing their adoption.