What is DMARC?

Understanding DMARC: A Simple Guide for Non-Technical Users


Email plays a crucial role in our personal and professional lives. However, with the convenience comes the risk of phishing attacks and email fraud. To combat these threats, organisations use various security measures, one of which is DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance).

In this article, we'll break down DMARC in simple terms, making it easy for non-technical users to understand.

What is DMARC?

DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to enhance the security of your email communication.

It helps ensure that the emails you receive are from the claimed sender, and not from malicious actors attempting to deceive you.


How does DMARC work?

DMARC relies on two other essential email authentication methods: SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). We need to briefly understand these before diving into DMARC.

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): SPF allows a domain owner to specify which mail servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of their domain
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): DKIM adds a digital signature to outgoing emails, allowing the recipient to verify that the email content hasn't been tampered with during transit


Bringing it all together with DMARC:

Imagine SPF and DKIM as two security guards standing at the gates of your email communication.  SPF checks the sender's identity, and DKIM ensures the email's content hasn't been altered. However, without a leader to coordinate them, these guards might not work seamlessly.  This is where DMARC comes in as the leader or coordinator. It instructs the email recipient on how to handle emails that don't pass SPF and DKIM checks.  DMARC also provides a reporting mechanism, allowing the domain owner to receive feedback on email authentication results.


Why should you care about DMARC?

It provides protection from phishing scams and email fraud, in both directions - as a sender and receiver. It also helps protect your brand.  By implementing DMARC, organisations enhance the trustworthiness of their emails, reducing the likelihood of falling victim to malicious activities. It also helps protect your brand, reducing the chance of scammers using your domain name to impersonate you.

DMARC, along with SPF and DKIM, acts as a trio of guardians for your inbox, ensuring that the messages you receive are legitimate and haven't been tampered with. As email threats continue to evolve, embracing DMARC is becoming a vital step in security.

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