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website security

Domain Keys and DKIM

 

Domain Keys

DomainKeys is an open source technology to protect both email senders and e-mail users. It is a means of authenticating the e-mail message did originate from the sender. More than 40% of inbound traffic to Yahoo Mail is using DomainKeys [ more than 1 billion messages a day]

Download Domainkeys

 

DKIM

DKIM is the successor of DomainKeys. Mail senders [private companies and e-mail service providers], are adopting one or both technologies in parallel.

DKIM is a simple technology, implemented by senders for free using a software plug in. However, the software is only one part of the program. It takes time for the business to understand who is sending e-mail on a company's behalf.
Within 18 months, all of the top financial institutions will use DKIM.

Download DKIM

 

Benefits

For Senders - The benefit for senders is that they can more easily manage their outbound e-mail traffic.

For Receivers - Maintain a list of domains that are meaningful rather than IP addresses which are irrelevant.

For instance, Yahoo has an arrangement with PayPal where they reject e-mail that supposedly comes from PayPal or eBay but isn't signed. They are working with senders and third-party e-mail service providers to make this a scalable solution. Time is required to gain confidence with DKIM on both sides [before you can start rejecting mail.]

Using e-mail authentication based on DomainKeys and DKIM allows receivers to clearly determine if the e-mail came from the source. ISPs can either block unsigned e-mail for companies that use DKIM, or send it through more filtering.

 

Expected Impact of DKIM on Phishing

DKIM is past tipping point, with small email list senders using it. It is easy to start in a controlled manner, before you reach the point of signing 100% of your mail. There are tremendous benefits if you are only signing 10% of your mail. Those 10% of messages are clearly documented as to where they are coming from, and they will get privileges in the in-boxes of Yahoo Mail users.


With DomainKeys released to open source and on the IETF standards track, e-mail authentication may become more widely accepted. Being close to critical mass ISPs like Yahoo and others will start taking action around it with priority routing decisions to help reduce spam, phishing and fraudulent e-mail.

 

Microsofts Approach to DKIM

Microsoft has introduced a technology that works in a messier way. (More on the Microsoft vs. Yahoo approaches.) The Microsoft's Sender ID framework relies on a message coming directly from one IP address to the receiver without any other hops in between. If the message has been forwarded, Sender ID doesn't work. With DKIM it doesn't matter how many hops a message has come through, we can still confer privileges upon it.

Difference Between Yahoo and Microsoft Solutions

Whilst this is a great start to resolving email spam and phishing problems, the solution is far from robust at this stage. Comments posted online claim that DKIM-signed authentic Phishing email has been orignating from Yahoo's own servers every day for over TWO YEARS.

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Also See:

Free Tools Index | IM Process | Affiliate Tools | Widgets | Product Launch | DomainKeys & DKIM