The tech world is rich in complicated terms and abbreviations that sound like they come directly from a science fiction movie. DMARC is one of these terms.
In this post, I set out to explain what DMARC is and how it works in the simplest terms possible. If you found this post helpful, remember to continue following my blog for the latest in all things tech.
What is DMARC?
Before we get into the specifics of how DMARC works, it’s important we have a general understanding of what it is.
DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. At it’s core, DMARC is a system designed to combat certain techniques commonly used in phishing and email spam.
The system is particularly centred around preventing email spoofing (the creation of email messages with a forged sender address). It does so by using a complex protocol to help verify the origin of emails and later assist in the process of email filtering.
How Does DMARC Work?
Now that we understand the main purpose of DMARC, let’s take a look at how this new system actually works to improve email verification.
DMARC’s foundations are based on two existing methods of email verification, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). It does so by matching the two sender’s addresses attached to an incoming email.
Email uses an “envelope” address as well as a “header” address. The former is used to actually deliver an email to the correct person, while the latter is the address that shows up in the “from” field in a user’s email server. The header address can be spoofed; the envelope address can’t.
It does so by combining the processes used in SPF and DKIM verification methods. Firstly, DMARC checks to the see the envelope and header addresses of an incoming email match as in a SPF check. Then it also makes sure that the header address matches the domain signature (a digital signature linking an email to a domain server) as in a DKIM check.
So there you have it, a simple explanation of DMARC, the latest advance in email authentication. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to share it with your friends and follow my blog for all the latest tech updates.