DKIM, or DomainKeys Identified Mail, is a security measure that is used to verify the authenticity of an email and protect against spam, phishing, and other types of email fraud. In this blog post, we will explore what DKIM is, how it works, and why it is important for protecting your email system and your online reputation.
What is DKIM?
DKIM is an email authentication method that allows the person or organization sending an email to associate a digital signature with the email. The signature is created using a private key and is attached to the email in the form of a DKIM-Signature header. The signature is then verified by the recipient’s email server using a public key that is stored in a DKIM record in the domain’s DNS.
How does DKIM work?
When an email is sent, the sender’s mail server adds a DKIM-Signature header to the email that includes the digital signature. The header also includes information about the domain, the selector (a unique string that is used to identify the key pair), and the algorithm that was used to create the signature.
When the email is received, the recipient’s email server retrieves the public key from the sender’s DKIM record in the DNS and uses it to verify the signature. If the signature is valid, it means that the email has not been tampered with during transit and can be trusted. If the signature is invalid, it means that the email may have been altered or forged and may not be trustworthy.
Why is DKIM important?
DKIM is important for a few reasons:
- It helps protect against spam and phishing attacks: Spammers and phishers often try to send email from fake domains or domains that they don’t have permission to use. By implementing DKIM, you can ensure that only emails that have been signed with your domain’s private key are trusted, which can help to reduce the risk of spam and phishing attacks.
- It helps protect your online reputation: When emails sent from your domain are flagged as spam or rejected, it can harm your online reputation. This can lead to decreased deliverability rates and make it more difficult for you to reach your intended audience. By implementing DKIM, you can help to ensure that legitimate emails from your domain are not flagged as spam, which can help to protect your online reputation.
- It can improve email deliverability: In addition to protecting your online reputation, DKIM can also help to improve the deliverability of your emails. When you have DKIM implemented, email servers are more likely to trust emails from your domain, which can help to improve the chances that your emails will reach their intended recipients.
How do I set up DKIM?
Setting up DKIM involves the following steps:
- Generate a private/public key pair. This can be done using a tool such as OpenSSL.
- Publish the public key in your domain’s DNS as a TXT record. The record should include the following information:
- The domain name (e.g. example.com)
- The selector (a unique string that is used to identify the key pair)
- The public key
- Configure your mail server to sign outgoing emails with the private key. This can typically be done through the server’s administrative panel or by modifying the server’s configuration files.
- Test the implementation to ensure that the signatures are being added to outgoing emails and that they are being verified by recipient servers.
In conclusion, DKIM is an important security measure that helps to protect against spam, phishing, and other types of email fraud.