Email authentication is the process of verifying the identity of an email sender to ensure that the email is not a phishing attempt or spam. In today’s digital world, the number of email users has grown significantly, as has the number of malicious actors who seek to exploit the system. To stop these malicious actors from sending spam, phishing emails, or other harmful content to email users, email authentication is a solution. In this blog, we’ll explore why email authentication matters, what the different types of email authentication are, and how you can implement email authentication for your organization.
Email has become a primary communication tool for both personal and business use, but with its widespread use, the number of malicious actors who use email for malicious purposes has also increased. In fact, a recent study found that 90% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email. This is why email authentication is so important—it helps prevent malicious actors from sending phishing emails, spam, or other malicious content to email users.
What is Email Authentication?
The process of confirming the sender’s identity through email is known as email authentication. This ensures that the email is not a phishing attempt or spam. The primary goal of email authentication is to prevent the forging of email addresses, which can be used to send malicious content or phishing emails.
Types of Email Authentication.
There are several types of email authentication, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are the most commonly used types of email authentication:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework).
With the help of a list of approved sending domains, the SPF email authentication protocol checks the sender’s identity. If the sending domain is not on the list, the email is marked as spam or rejected.
- DKIM (Domain-Keys Identified Mail).
By including a digital signature in the email header, the DKIM email authentication protocol confirms the authenticity of an email. This digital signature can be used to verify that the email has not been altered during transit.
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance).
DMARC is an email authentication protocol that provides a way for the owner of a domain to specify how email sent from their domain should be handled. This includes specifying what type of email authentication to use and what action should be taken if the email fails authentication.
The Benefits of Email Authentication.
Email authentication provides several benefits, including:
- Protection Against Phishing: Email authentication helps prevent phishing by verifying the identity of the sender and ensuring that the email is not a phishing attempt.
- Reduction in Spam: Email authentication helps reduce the amount of spam that is sent to email users by verifying the identity of the sender and ensuring that the email is not spam.
- Improved Email Deliverability: Email authentication helps improve email deliverability by ensuring that emails are sent from a legitimate source. This helps prevent emails from being marked as spam or rejected by email servers.
- Increased Brand Protection: Email authentication helps protect your brand by preventing malicious actors from forging your email address and sending malicious content to your customers or clients.
Implementing Email Authentication for Your Organization.
Although it does necessitate some technical knowledge, implementing email authentication for your business is comparatively simple. The actions you must take in order to implement email authentication for your company are listed below:
- Determine the type of email authentication you want to use.
The selection of the email authentication type you want to use is the first step in putting email authentication into practice. This will depend on your specific needs and the resources available to you. Some organizations may choose to use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, while others may choose to use just one or two of these protocols.
- Set up the appropriate DNS records.
You must configure the proper DNS records for each protocol after selecting the type of email authentication you want to use. For example, to set up SPF, you’ll need to create a TXT record in your domain’s DNS that lists the authorized sending domains for your organization. For DKIM, you’ll need to create a public key and a DNS record that includes the public key.
- Configure your email server.
The next step is to configure your email server to use the email authentication protocols you’ve set up. This will typically involve updating your email server settings to include the appropriate DNS records and to use the correct authentication protocols.
- Monitor your email authentication.
Once you’ve implemented email authentication, it’s critical to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s functioning properly. You can use tools such as DMARC reports to monitor the status of your email authentication and ensure that your emails are being delivered as intended.
- Update your email authentication as needed.
Finally, it’s essential to update your email authentication as needed. This could entail changing the settings for your email server or adding new sending domains. Maintaining the most recent version of your email authentication will help to ensure that your emails are delivered as intended and that your company is shielded from phishing and other malicious content.
To sum up, in the modern digital world, email authentication is a crucial component of keeping email communications secure. It offers a way to confirm the sender’s identity and block the delivery of spam, phishing, and other harmful content to email users.
Email deliverability can be enhanced, brand protection can be increased, and your customers and clients will receive emails that are safer and more secure, thanks to the implementation of email authentication within your company.