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Unwanted return messages: Are businesses ready for DMARC?

This approach authenticates emails automatically, filtering out suspicious emails.

Sending a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere. — Photo: © AFP
Sending a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere. — Photo: © AFP

Valimail, in collaboration with email giants Google and Yahoo, recently hosted a roundtable to discuss newly implemented bulk sender requirements aimed at enhancing email authentication and security.

In the context of a surge in threats like spam and phishing, the conversation, featuring Google’s Neil Kumaran and Yahoo’s Marcel Becker, centered on the urgent need for more stringent email authentication to protect users and improve deliverability of legitimate emails.

This has led to new rules being constructed. These focus on large senders initially, due to their higher risk of impersonation and potential impact, and emphasize the use of standards like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify sender identities, thereby reducing the risk of impersonation and spam.

The most common is a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) policy. This approach authenticates emails automatically, filtering out suspicious emails. The aim is to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing.

The new DMARC policies hold significant implications across virtually every sector. This is not just a technical issue but a critical business one, affecting everything from operational efficiency to customer relationships.

The initiative reflects a collective effort to bolster email security and deliverability, with Valimail offering tools and guidance to aid senders of all sizes in achieving compliance and enhancing the email ecosystem’s overall safety.

Commenting on the changes, Seth Blank, Valimail’s CTO tells Digital Journal:  “Inbox providers will soon begin to reject email that fails to meet their new sender requirements.”

While marketing emails have been getting most of the focus, any organization likely has multiple emails that also need to reach compliance, including:

  • Payroll
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Shipping notifications
  • Password resets
  • Contract updates

Blank continues: “Like an annual physical at the doctor, it’s important to regularly examine the health and status of your entire email infrastructure, to make sure you don’t have any surprises as your business continually changes. With the new rules coming into play, doing that check now is doubly important, so that you can catch issues before they become more serious and negatively impact your business.”

He also advises a proactive approach by businesses: “It’s time for your check-up. An ounce of prevention now will prevent future problems as these new requirements become fully enforced over the next several months.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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