With email attacks on the rise, organizations are increasingly adopting Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) to safeguard their domains against BEC and phishing attempts.
DMARC email authentication is highly-effective against these cyberattacks when properly implemented. However, several myths and misconceptions about DMARC can hinder its deployment, leading to significant security issues.
In this article, we’ll be debunking 12 common myths about DMARC.
Myth 1: DMARC is a Glorified Spam Filter
This is one of the most common misconceptions that people have about DMARC. Spam filters block all suspicious incoming emails, no matter which domain they come from.
On the other hand, DMARC tells receiving email servers how they should handle messages sent on behalf of your domain. If an email fails the authentication check, the receiving server will reject and discard it.
Myth 2: Only Major Phishing Targets Need DMARC
Though phishing campaigns target some industries more than others, organisations can be victims of phishing attacks or other email-borne cybercrimes. All organizations must implement DMARC to strengthen their email security and secure their domains.
Myth 3: DMARC is Only for Large Mail Senders
Cyberattackers target every organization regardless of size. You can be vulnerable to phishing, spoofing, and other cyberattacks if you have a public domain. DMARC deployment isn’t only for mega-corporations and big businesses.
Every organization must implement DMARC to verify its legitimate emails and block malicious actors from exploiting its domain or brand reputation.
Myth 4: Having DMARC on “None” is Enough
Even though DMARC is highly-effective against BEC and other phishing attacks, it can’t implement policies on its own. Having your DMARC policy on p=none is like having no policy at all. The “None” policy is designed for the early stages of DMARC implementation. It allows the delivery of all emails to the recipient’s inbox, including suspicious or unauthenticated messages.
The p=none policy still generates DMARC reports, but it doesn’t protect your domain from spoofing, phishing, and other cyberattacks. This policy is only meant for testing and monitoring, so you can see which emails sent on your domain’s behalf pass and fail DMARC authentication.
Once the monitoring stage is over, it’s vital to upgrade your DMARC policy to p=quarantine or p=reject for strict enforcement.
Myth 5: Reaching Enforcement Ends the Journey
Though DMARC enforcement is the goal, it doesn’t end there. You must regularly monitor your email infrastructure and send sources for any changes. Email is dynamic, and infrastructure can change, so you must keep your head in the game. Take advantage of services like Managed DMARC to stay on top of things.
Myth 6: DMARC is a Quick Deliverability Fix
DMARC is not a quick deliverability fix. While it helps improve your deliverability rate, it’s not all that quick. When you first implement DMARC, you need to stay at the p=none policy for a while to monitor your domain.
Once you’ve passed this stage, you can move to the quarantine policy. After that, it’s crucial to enforce the reject policy, where you get the deliverability benefits that DMARC offers. Immediately enforcing a reject policy is not a good idea.
Myth 7: DMARC Deals With All Email Attacks
DMARC is a must-have security measure for every organization, but it doesn’t protect you from all email attacks. It provides email authentication and safeguards your domain from one type of spoofing, so you shouldn’t use it alone.
For example, DMARC doesn’t prevent lookalike domain spoofing. That’s why organizations need a layered security approach for email protection.
Myth 8: You Can Skip DMARC for Parked Domains
Most people believe they only need to implement DMARC for a domain that sends emails, but this isn’t true. Hackers can spoof any domain, so every domain you have should be DMARC-protected. That way, email receivers can easily authenticate messages from your domains.
Myth 9. You Can’t Start DMARC Before Setting Up SPF and DKIM
This is another myth about DMARC that we’re debunking. We strongly recommended SPF and DKIM implementation, followed by DMARC. But you can still start with DMARC before setting up SPF and DKIM.
Once you know how to add a DMARC record in your DNS, you should set the policy to p=none. This monitoring stage gives insights into authentication issues with authorized mail senders and spoofing activities.
However, you need to deploy SPF and DKIM before you can upgrade your DMARC policy to quarantine or reject.
Myth 10: DMARC is a Security Project
Another misconception about DMARC is its security project status. But in reality, DMARC is cross-departmental and cross-functional. The email authentication protocol is more effective and productive when collaborating with compliance, security, IT, and marketing departments.
While DMARC can stop phishing and spoofing attacks that leverage legitimate domains, it can also identify shadow IT, improve deliverability, and increase brand reputation with BIMI.
Myth 11: I Can Deploy DMARC Myself
DMARC is complex, requiring technical expertise to work efficiently and produce stellar performance. People deploying DMARC themselves may confuse, make mistakes, and miss crucial steps.
But EasyDMARC makes DMARC deployment easy and hassle-free, even for those without technical knowledge. Tools like our DMARC Record Checker looks up and validates your DMARC record (if you have one). If not, you can use our DMARC Record Generator to create your DMARC TXT record and publish it in your DNS.
Myth 12: Reading DMARC Reports is a Breeze
We all know that DMARC reports are raw XML files, which are challenging to read for most. But don’t fret. EasyDMARC’s Aggregate Report Analyzer simplifies the entire process by converting the XML files into easily-understandable reports.
You can quickly monitor your email infrastructure to find any misuse or issues.- You’ll also be able to inspect any problems and take action to resolve them.
All you need to do is upload your DMARC XML report and see our Analyzer perform its magic.
We’ve given you a rundown of the most common DMARC myths, now debunked and clarified. DMARC takes time and effort to deploy correctly, so the last thing you need is a common misconception muddying the waters.
Email remains the preferred attack vector for most cybercrimes. Whether it’s phishing, Business Email Compromise, or email spoofing, these attacks are increasing rapidly and becoming more advanced.
That’s why more and more organizations are deploying DMARC to protect their email infrastructure, prevent phishing and spoofing, and safeguard their brand’s reputation.