Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

2/5/2013
06:23 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Fake Email Dies Under DMARC Regime

Authentication and cooperation, made possible by the DMARC framework, cut down on email domain abuse.

A year ago, some of the world's largest email services began ordering the quarantine or deletion of messages sent in their names. The result of this mass execution is being hailed as a resounding success.

On Wednesday, DMARC, an industry group founded by leading technology, financial service, social and media companies in early 2012 to fight email fraud, announced that its message authentication technology now protects almost 2 billion of the world's 3.3 billion consumer inboxes and 80% of the consumer inboxes in the United States.

Some of the companies that have implemented DMARC's technology include Amazon, American Greetings, Apple, Bank of America, Blizzard Entertainment, Booking.com, eBay, Facebook, FedEx, Fidelity Investments, Google, Groupon, JP Morgan Chase, LinkedIn, LivingSocial, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Tagged, Twitter, Western Union, Yelp, YouTube and Zynga.

[ Want new ideas on securing customer information? Read 6 Steps To Better Customer Data Protection. ]

DMARC stands for domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance. Supported by email security providers Agari, Cloudmark, Return Path and Trusted Domain Project, it is a framework by which email senders can authenticate legitimate messages and can exchange information with receiving entities about how to handle unauthenticated messages -- monitor them, quarantine them or delete them.

In just the last two months of 2012, 325 million messages were rejected by mailbox providers for being unauthenticated. Such messages are often spam, phishing attacks or other forms of brand or domain spoofing -- in this case, 49 million of the rejected messages were from highly phished domains. Some of these messages may come from within an organization, via unsecured mail servers, while others may carry forged header information or come from confusingly similar domains.

"What brands are doing is shutting down these avenues of large-scale, orchestrated attacks," said Trent Adams, chair of DMARC.org and senior policy advisor at PayPal, in a phone interview. "The mailbox providers finally have a way to take definitive action on fraudulent mail."

Though based on authentication technologies, like SPF and DKIM, DMARC's value comes from combining message security with collaboration and business intelligence. Email senders that publish DMARC policies receive feedback reports from DMARC-compliant message recipients about unauthenticated messages purporting to come from any of the sending organization's domains.

These reports provide visibility into an organization's email stream and allow the organization to take enforcement action if necessary, explained Adams.

Such data matters to businesses because it's often a surprise. Reviewing a case study provided by Message Bus, Adams described how an unnamed, large, international conglomerate decided to test whether its domains were being spoofed. The company deployed a DMARC monitor record to gather information about unauthenticated email messages that people were receiving from its domains. It found that only 36% of messages that purported to come from the company actually originated from company servers. About 61% of the messages were from unknown and possibly malicious senders, while 3% was forwarded, through discussion lists or other mechanisms.

"That kind of business intelligence is a wakeup call to any organization," said Adams. "This is not an edge case. We hear this time and time again. Companies put out a monitor policy to see what the waters look like and they find they have a much larger problem."

Adams also cited the example of an unnamed, large, online auction company that saw a 32% decrease in phishing attempts and 62% less unauthorized account access following DMARC deployment. Coincidentally, eBay was an early DMARC adopter.

Krish Vitaldevara, principal group program manager for Microsoft's Outlook.com, said that the need for the security DMARC provides is reflected in how rapidly email senders and receivers are adopting the framework.

While 100% adoption and an end to domain spoofing may be too much to hope for, Adams likens DMARC to an inoculation campaign. If you can get a large enough percentage of the population inoculated, then everyone will be protected, he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
PJS880
50%
50%
PJS880,
User Rank: Ninja
2/15/2013 | 3:39:07 PM
re: Fake Email Dies Under DMARC Regime
That is an incredibly large user base and an extremely large percentage of the market as well. What is not shocking is the amount of spam, phishing, and just junk emails; I would have thought this number too much higher. Adams hit the nail on the head with this being a wake-up call, that the snooze button continues to get hit on, even with shattering results and information that companies are supplied with. It is nice that DMARC exists for companies to get specific statistics about their organization, as well better protect themselves.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Microsoft Patches Wormable RCE Vulns in Remote Desktop Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/13/2019
The Mainframe Is Seeing a Resurgence. Is Security Keeping Pace?
Ray Overby, Co-Founder & President at Key Resources, Inc.,  8/15/2019
GitHub Named in Capital One Breach Lawsuit
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15132
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-17
Zabbix through 4.4.0alpha1 allows User Enumeration. With login requests, it is possible to enumerate application usernames based on the variability of server responses (e.g., the "Login name or password is incorrect" and "No permissions for system access" messages, or just blocki...
CVE-2019-15133
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-17
In GIFLIB before 2019-02-16, a malformed GIF file triggers a divide-by-zero exception in the decoder function DGifSlurp in dgif_lib.c if the height field of the ImageSize data structure is equal to zero.
CVE-2019-15134
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-17
RIOT through 2019.07 contains a memory leak in the TCP implementation (gnrc_tcp), allowing an attacker to consume all memory available for network packets and thus effectively stopping all network threads from working. This is related to _receive in sys/net/gnrc/transport_layer/tcp/gnrc_tcp_eventloo...
CVE-2019-14937
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-17
REDCap before 9.3.0 allows time-based SQL injection in the edit calendar event via the cal_id parameter, such as cal_id=55 and sleep(3) to Calendar/calendar_popup_ajax.php. The attacker can obtain a user's login sessionid from the database, and then re-login into REDCap to compromise all data.
CVE-2019-13069
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-17
extenua SilverSHielD 6.x fails to secure its ProgramData folder, leading to a Local Privilege Escalation to SYSTEM. The attacker must replace SilverShield.config.sqlite with a version containing an additional user account, and then use SSH and port forwarding to reach a 127.0.0.1 service.