Tagdmarc

Brand indicators in email

A number of companies in the email industry have been working on a way to better identify authenticated emails to users. One proposal is Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI). A couple weeks ago, Agari announced a pilot program with some brands and a number of major consumer mail providers. These logos should be available in the Yahoo interface now and will be rolling out at other...

Authentication is about Identity, not Virtue

I just got some mail claiming to be from “Bank of America <secure@bofasecure.com>”. It passes SPF: Received-SPF: Pass (sender SPF authorized) identity=mailfrom; client-ip=185.235.176.160; helo=bofasecure.com; It passes DKIM: Authentication-Results: mx.wordtothewise.com (amavisd-new); dkim=pass (1024-bit key) header.d=bofasecure.com The visible RFC 822 From address is strictly...

Organizational Domain

We often want to know whether two hostnames are controlled by the same person, or not. One case for that is cookie privacy in web browsers. We want pages at www.blighty.com and images.blighty.com and blighty.com to all be able to set and read cookies for each other – so a user only needs to log in once for pages or images on all of them to work well together.  So we allow all of them to...

About that DMARC "exploit"

A security researcher has identified a rendering flaw that allows for “perfect” phishing emails. From his website: Mailsploit is a collection of bugs in email clients that allow effective sender spoofing and code injection attacks. The spoofing is not detected by Mail Transfer Agents (MTA) aka email servers, therefore circumventing spoofing protection mechanisms such as DMARC...

The feds are deploying DMARC

The US National Cybersecurity Assessments & Technical Services Team have issued a mandate on web and email security, including TLS+HSTS for web servers, and STARTTLS+SPF+DKIM+DMARC for email. It’s … pretty decent for a brief, public requirements doc. It’s compatible with a prudent rollout of email authentication. Set up a centralized reporting repository for DMARC failure...

Email pranks and spoofing

Earlier today a twitter user calling himself Email Prankster released copies of email conversations with various members of the current US administration. Based on his twitter feed, and articles from BBC News and CNN, it appears that the prankster forged “friendly from” names in emails to staffers. A bunch of folks will jump on this bandwagon and start making all sorts of claims about...

People are the weakest link

All of the technical security in the world won’t fix the biggest security problem: people. Let’s face it, we are the weakest link. Adding more security doesn’t work, it only causes people to figure out ways to get around the security. The more secure you make something, the less secure it becomes. Why? Because when security gets in the way, sensible, well-meaning, dedicated...

DMARC doesn't fix Phishing

Not a new thing, but a nice example just popped up in my inbox on my phone.   But FedEx solved their entire phishing problem when they published a strict p=reject DMARC record, right? This didn’t come from fedex.com. It came from another domain that looks vaguely like fedex.com – what that domain is doesn’t matter, as the domain it’s sent from isn’t displayed to...

ARC: Authenticated Received Chain

On Friday I talked a little about DMARC being a negative assertion rather than an authentication method, and also about how and when it could be deployed without causing problems. Today, how DMARC went wrong and a partial fix for it that is coming down the standards pipeline. What breaks? DMARC (with p=reject) risks causing problems any time mail with the protected domain in the From: field is...

The philosophy of DMARC

We know that legitimate email sent with valid SPF and a DKIM signature often breaks in transit. SPF will fail any time mail is forwarded – via a mailing list, a forwarding service used by the recipient, or just ad-hoc forwarding. DKIM will fail any time the message is modified in transit. That can be obviously visible changes, such as a mailing list tagging a subject header or adding a...

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