Why is Email Authentication to Prevent Spoofing So Important?
Authentication is one security capability that has been around for centuries. Proof of identity has been used for generations, in order to conduct banking, secure licenses, access clubs and pubs, etc. And concomitantly, the art of falsifying identity has evolved in ever-more intricate and detailed fashion.
People have always found ways to fabricate information, with fake ID’s, impersonating others using stolen credentials, and misrepresenting their relationships, in order to gain access where they don’t belong. Authentication has been a continuous battle between those trying to protect and prevent, and those intent on gaining forbidden access.
In today’s digital age, authentication is an important technology deployed by organizations, permitting only authenticated users and devices access to their networks, servers, applications, databases, computers, and data. Today we have three primary forms of digital authentication - password-based, multi-factor, and certificate-based. Three standards-based email security protocols used to address malicious email authentication methods - SPF, DKIM and DMARC - work together to help protect against email and domain name spoofing.
SPF, DKIM and DMARC in a nutshell
To prevent email and domain spoofing, Sender Policy Framework, or SPF, hardens DNS servers by restricting who can send emails from a domain. Domain Keys Identified Mail, or DKIM, ensures email content is trusted, and not compromised. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, or DMARC, integrates SPF and DKIM protocols with consistent policies, links the sender’s domain name with the “from header”, and provides reporting back from email recipients. While these email security protocols are widely available, email authentication is a difficult and complex process, and more often than not, it’s chalked with configuration errors.
The need for simplified and automated email authentication
The legitimacy of an email’s true owner is critical for communications. In the case of a Business Email Compromise, or BEC, cyberattack, the result for the victimized organization can be financial loss, brand erosion, and the loss of consumer trust. Email authentication, using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols to verify an organization’s email and domain, provides proof that the users and devices sending out-bound email are legitimate. However, implementing, managing and mitigating email authentication remains a cumbersome and fault-riddled process.
RevBits email authentication builds in simplicity and reliability
RevBits Email Authentication automates DKIM, DMARC, and SPF policy settings to prevent email and domain spoofing. We remove the complexity and difficulty of enabling DKIM, DMARC, and SPF, while enhancing the overall email security posture to protect the organization’s brand reputation.
RevBits Email Security includes the Email Authentication module to automate workflows and reliably deploy standard email protocols that authenticate out-bound emails. RevBits Email Authentication enables administrators to simplify the process of controlling their domain email addresses to minimize spam and spoofing. Additionally, admins can authorize third-party email marketing companies to send email campaigns out on their behalf.
When an email authentication fails, it is only an indicator, and not necessarily a good or bad indicator. This is in part, because the process is all too often improperly setup. Inside of the email header will be a SPF and DKIM failure or pass, but that doesn’t mean the email is malicious. It may simply mean the SPF, DKIM and DMARC protocols were misconfigured.
RevBits Email Authentication implements a security certificate or public key within the organization’s DNS service settings. The process can define which third-parties, such as email marketing firms, are allowed, or are whitelisted, so they can send emails out on behalf of the organization. RevBits automatically generates the security key and configuration string, which the administrator copies and places into the DNS server settings to activate the protection functions. RevBits then confirms that the settings are correct. By enabling the DNS servers at GoDaddy, Google, Microsoft Exchange, Office365, and others, with the RevBits generated security key and the configuration string, the spoofing protections are enforced. This is accomplished through authentication from the organization’s DNS server.
When domain name and email providers conduct their SPF, DKIM and DMARC checks, the email pass/fail results will be sent to the organization, where they will rarely receive follow up. To overcome this limitation, RevBits uniquely sets up a mail trap, by generating a random mailbox with the config string injected into it. If someone tries to impersonate the organization’s domain, or if an email marketing firm sends out a marketing campaign on behalf of the organization, the mail gateway at Google, Office365, Exchange, etc., will send a notice to the organization. At this point, the admin will be able to approve (whitelist) or disapprove (blacklist) the emails with a simple mouse click within the RevBits dashboard. An extensive report will also be available on all the activity. RevBits has automated the process of configuring, testing and monitoring the email authentication process, and automatically parses the DMARC, SPF and DKIM results so admins can quickly take appropriate action.
Protecting domain names and emails is vitally important. Among other reasons, it protects an organization’s brand reputation, reduces potential financial loss and maintains customer satisfaction and loyalty. Email authentication is an important method for preserving trust and protecting against cybercrime. RevBits has simplified the process and created a more reliable approach for implementing, managing and maintaining email authentication, using industry standard protocols.
How big is Email? So far, in 2021, over 319 billion emails have been sent and received worldwide.
Ultimately, all organizations stay connected through email, which carries information from one employee to another. Basically, email communication is the channel used by every company for internal and external communication. However, the primary question is, "How secure is the email system?"
It’s a common misconception that the only threats to an enterprise’s security come from external actors. Whether intentional or not, 47% of organizational data breaches are the result of internal human error, such as a misplaced device or document. Moreover, some employees present an even larger risk than others. According to recent reports, younger employees are more likely to bypass security protocols that are viewed as an impediment to their productivity. When it comes to onboarding new employees, young or old, enterprises must have proper security awareness & anti-phishing training, in addition to a strong privileged access management solution, to guard against the different types of human error that could create security vulnerabilities.