DMARC Moves to Mainstream with Gartner Recommendation

In its recent report Fighting Phishing: Protect Your Brand Gartner lays out a series of recommended steps to reduce the impact of phishing in eroding trust for your brand. One of the paper’s key prescriptions is DMARC, complete with SPF and DKIM. Gartner suggests that DMARC implementation is critical not only to combating phishing against your brand but also to ensuring the delivery of your real email messages.

In a nutshell Gartner recommends, “Implement domain-level email authentication (SPF, DKIM and DMARC) as a technical approach to combat spoofing.”

Gartner names phishing as an important threat to brand trust, writing,

Phishing attacks that target customers, partners and members of the public in the name of your organization threaten the recipients and damage the market reputation of your organization.

Gartner assumes in this report that through 2020 email will be “the primary targeting method of advanced targeted attacks” as well as a “common” method for consumer-facing attacks (along with fake social media accounts).

The report identifies that phishing campaigns depend on “what appears to be a credible, trusted source of the phishing message. For email, this pertains to the apparent domain name used to send the email to the targeted recipients.” Those are what we call impersonation attacks, phishing emails that look like they’re coming from trusted domain names and therefore are more likely to gather the desired responses from their intended victims. As a result, they are highly effective imitators, “[A]ttackers often mimic the look and feel of actual communications from the organization to such an extent that they are indistinguishable from a branding perspective.”

Gartner’s recommended response to the phishing threat includes authenticated email using DMARC. Gartner writes about DMARC, SFP, and DKIM that “Organizations should deploy these complementary protocols for their domains to guard against spoofing,” and goes on to state that as the email receiving infrastructure increases its level of filtering, “email authentication will become essential to the deliverability of legitimate messages.”

In summary:

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