Are your organisation’s emails secured?

Security | April 28, 2019

The digitalization of businesses today has nevertheless made communication between parties a cakewalk, especially with the introduction of emails. Although emailing carries a hoard of benefits along, its security to business organizations has always been a question mark. ‘Email Security’ is a daunting issue for email service providers with an increase in the number of hackers and intruders who maliciously steal business information from emails. Even worse, the hackers can use your domain name and broadcast malicious content via email campaigning in large numbers by spoofing, right under your nose.

What are the threats if email security is compromised?

Hackers enter the network through phishing and spam emails. If a malicious attachment is opened, the organization opens its doors to ransomware, cryptojacking scripts, data leakages, or privilege escalation exploitation.

Is it possible to ensure complete email security?

Despite encompassing several techniques of email security, an email service provider often ends up failing to ensure the same. The reason lies in the technique that’s being implemented. The most promising technique is to use the combination of three protocols, namely,

  • SPF
  • DKIM
  • DMARC

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

‘Sender Address Forgery’ is tracked by SPF. It aims at identifying reliable email sources and prevents unauthorized sources to broadcast illegitimate emails from your DNS. SPF prevents domain spoofing.SPF has three major elements

  1. A policy framework
  2. An authentication method
  3. Specialized headers in the email that convey this information.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM is a cryptographic authentication protocol that makes sure that the content of the emails is trustworthy. It uses keys to make sure an email sender is not a fraudulent one.

Essentially, a public-private key pair is generated along with a hash code in the form of a DKIM signature. Each outgoing email protocol needs the right hash code in order to match a public DNS record that the receiving mail server then verifies during decryption. This protocol also ensures that the message is not tampered during transit.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

While SPF tracks sender forgery and DKIM ensures that the content is not malicious, DMARC binds both SPF and DKIM together with a set of policies. Using this protocol, the message sender is sure that the email is protected with SPF and DKIM. In other words, it helps you in evaluating all sources that are sending out emails using your domain name.

Implementing the protocols?

  • Implementing SPF
  1. Add a new TXT record to Public DNS
  2. Add single IPv4 addresses
  3. Apply the SOFTFAIL 
  • Implementing DKIM
  1. Add the public key to your DNS record.
  2. CNAME the keys on your DNS to their DNS
  • Implementing DMARC
  1. Set up a DMARC policy
  2. Identify the mailto address
  3. Set up the alignment mode
  4. Identify the percentage of messages that the policy should be applied to

The importance of having all these three protocols cannot be ignored. Even if any one of them is not applied, email security would be at a greater risk for an IT administrator. Implementing each of these protocols might sound laborious initially but it guarantees complete email security which of paramount importance to any business organization.

Amagraphs LLP Your Online Solutions Partner

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