Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance

Definition of Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication protocol that helps protect email domains from being used for phishing and spamming activities. It combines two existing technologies, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), to validate a sender’s identity and prevent spoofed emails from reaching recipients. If an email fails the DMARC checks, it is either quarantined, rejected, or a report is generated and sent to the domain owner for further investigation.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance” is:Doh-mayn Beyst Mes-uhj O-thenti-kay-shun, Ri-por-ting and Con-for-mance

Key Takeaways

  1. Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol that helps protect domains from email spoofing and phishing attacks by providing a mechanism to authenticate legitimate emails.
  2. DMARC builds on two existing authentication techniques, namely Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), by allowing domain owners to declare their email authentication practices and ensure that only authorized senders can send emails on their behalf.
  3. Implementing DMARC not only helps improve email deliverability by preventing unauthorized use of a domain, but also provides robust reporting, enabling domain owners to gain insights into their email ecosystem, identify potential threats, and take appropriate action to maintain their domain’s reputation and security.

Importance of Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is important because it serves as a vital email validation protocol that safeguards email domains from various cyber threats, such as phishing and spoofing attacks.

By working in conjunction with Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), DMARC validates and authenticates the email sender, ensuring the email is truly coming from the intended domain.

This not only enhances security measures, but also builds trust and credibility for brands and organizations, adding a layer of integrity to their email communication.

Additionally, DMARC helps improve email deliverability rates and provides visibility into email traffic, allowing organizations to monitor and proactively address potential vulnerabilities and fraudulent activities.


Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a crucial technology designed to combat email-based threats and enhance the security of email communication. The primary purpose of DMARC is to safeguard both the senders and recipients of emails from potential phishing attacks, spam, and other malicious activities, by providing robust mechanisms for authenticating the origin and legitimacy of an email message. By deploying DMARC, organizations gain an additional layer of protection to secure their email domains, prevent unauthorized use, and foster trust in their communication channels.

This is particularly important for organizations that deal with sensitive information and rely on secure email communication with clients, partners, and employees. DMARC establishes a standardized method for receivers to validate the authenticity of a sender’s email messages by cross-referencing the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records. This process ensures the email has not been tampered with or forged by a third party, and it originates from the claimed domain.

Besides authentication, DMARC provides valuable reporting features that enable organizations to monitor their email domains’ performance, track attempted impersonations, and receive feedback from mailbox providers regarding how their messages are being processed. These reports are invaluable for improving email security and implementing necessary adjustments to ensure a higher deliverability rate and a more reliable email ecosystem. Overall, DMARC serves as a vital tool for strengthening email security, protecting an organization’s brand reputation, and maintaining the trust of email recipients.

Examples of Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is an email validation system designed to protect an organization’s email domain from being used for email spoofing, phishing scams, and other cybercrimes. Here are three real-world examples of DMARC implementation:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)In 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a directive that required all federal agencies to implement DMARC within a short span of just a few months. By implementing DMARC, the U.S. government sought to protect its email domains from cyber threats, reduce spam, and increase the trustworthiness of emails coming from government agencies. By 2018, over 90% of federal agencies had implemented DMARC, resulting in a significant reduction in malicious emails, phishing scams, and spoofed emails sent using government domains.

Barclays BankBarclays, one of the largest banks in the world, implemented DMARC to protect its customers and itself from email-borne fraud. By deploying DMARC on its domains, Barclays reduced phishing emails by more than 50%, lowering the risk for its customers and the bank. In addition, this action gave customers increased confidence that emails from Barclays were legitimate, making it easier for them to identify and report suspected phishing emails.

LinkedInAs one of the most popular professional networking platforms, LinkedIn is a constant target for cybercriminals seeking to gain access to users’ personal and sensitive data. To enhance their email security, LinkedIn implemented DMARC to validate emails and help prevent its domain being used for phishing emails and spam. In 2020, LinkedIn reported that implementing DMARC led to a significant decline in the number of phishing emails spoofing LinkedIn’s domain, ensuring a safer user experience for millions of its members.These examples demonstrate the effectiveness of DMARC in protecting organizations and their users from email-related cyber threats, as well as fostering trust and online security.

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance FAQ

1. What is Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)?

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is a protocol that provides email senders and receivers with a way to validate and authenticate emails and improve protection against email spoofing and phishing attacks. DMARC builds on established email authentication protocols like SPF and DKIM, and sets policies to control the handling of non-authenticated messages.

2. How does DMARC work?

DMARC works by adding a DMARC DNS record to your domain’s DNS settings. This record specifies the email authentication protocols you want to use (SPF and/or DKIM), and the policies for handling emails that fail authentication. When a receiving mail server gets an email claiming to be from your domain, it checks the DMARC record and verifies if the sender complies with your stated authentication policies. Based on the results, the receiver will either accept, quarantine, or reject the email according to your DMARC policies.

3. What are the benefits of implementing DMARC?

Implementing DMARC helps protect your domain from email spoofing and phishing attacks, enhancing the security and trustworthiness of your email communications. It enables domain owners to have more control over their email reputation and delivery, reduces the risk of authorized emails being mistakenly marked as spam, and provides valuable reports that give insight into the email ecosystem around your domain.

4. What are the differences between SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email validation protocol that allows domain owners to define which IP addresses are authorized to send emails on their behalf. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a cryptographic signature-based email authentication protocol that lets domain owners sign outgoing emails to prove their authenticity. Both SPF and DKIM help prevent email spoofing and aid in email delivery. DMARC is a separate protocol that brings them together and adds a policy-based layer that allows domain owners to specify how receiving servers should handle unauthenticated emails.

5. How can I implement DMARC for my domain?

To implement DMARC for your domain, follow these steps:
1. Ensure your email sending infrastructure supports SPF and/or DKIM.
2. Set up and test your SPF and DKIM records in your domain’s DNS settings.
3. Create a DMARC record, specifying your desired authentication policies and reporting options.
4. Add the DMARC record to your domain’s DNS settings.
5. Monitor DMARC reports to analyze email traffic and authentication results, adjusting your records and policies as necessary.

Related Technology Terms

  • Email Authentication
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC)
  • Phishing Protection

Sources for More Information


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