2024 Email Authentication Standards: Elevating Security with Google and Yahoo

2024 Email Authentication Standards: Elevating Security with Google and Yahoo

In contemporary email communication, email authentication plays a pivotal role in mitigating email fraud, spam, and phishing attacks. Brace yourself for a new level of security. Starting February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo will be implementing robust email authentication requirements to combat harmful messages and emphasize the crucial role of data security. This measure aims to prevent restrictions on sending rates, message blocking, and marking messages as spam.



Who will experience the effects? 

The updated security guidelines apply to all users, particularly those who send 5000 or more than 5000 emails per day from ZOHO DESK. Not following these guidelines may lead to email delivery delays, blocked messages, or the categorization of emails as spam.

Not to worry. We are here to support you with the best possible solutions.

Basic details that every sender should be aware of
 
To safeguard your path in 2024, it is mandatory to follow the fundamental requirements, beginning with email authentications.

When utilizing a Gmail domain in the 'From' address, it is essential to configure the address with its dedicated SMTP for ensuring accurate mail delivery.

For recipients on gmail.com or googlemail.com, it is recommended to publish DMARC for the sender domain to enhance prompt mail delivery. 

Verify with your own SMTP 

In adherence to the new guidelines, reply emails sent from Zoho Desk with From addresses belonging to gmail.com, googlemail.com, to any domains may be bounced or marked as spam. Therefore, we kindly request all customers to configure these From addresses with your own SMTP verification and use TLS for transmitting email rather than Zoho SMTP. If the From addresses were verified previously with your own SMTP, we will continue using the same authentication for all notification emails sent from Zoho Desk.



Rolling out SPF & DKIM  

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) are vital email authentication protocols that protect against spam, phishing, and spoofing. SPF verifies the authenticity of emails from your domain, while DKIM confirms their source by validating authorized servers associated with sending domains. These protocols work together to validate emails, ensuring that they originate from legitimate sources and have not been tampered with during transmission. This implementation enhances the overall security of your email communications by reducing the risk of email spoofing, phishing, and other malicious activities. 

Minimal Spam Rate 

Maintain spam rates below 0.10% and ensure they never exceed 0.30% for optimal email deliverability.

Essential  Requirements for Users Sending 5000 or More Emails Daily 

Implement DMARC Policy 

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) is an authentication technique that leverages the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to authenticate emails. This helps in preventing forging emails and engaging in unauthorized activities through them.

 How DMARC Works: 

1: Publish the DMARC policy outlining instructions for mailbox providers' receiving servers on how to handle emails that breach the policy.
2: Authenticate your sender domain by implementing SPF and DKIM.
3: The receiving server will apply the DMARC policy and execute the instructions specified in the policy.
4: The receiving server will send a report detailing how it handled the email to the reporting email address specified in the DMARC record.

Sample: DMARC record
v=DMARC1\; p=none\; rua=mailto:dmarc-aggregate@mydomain.com\; ruf=mailto:dmarc-afrf@mydomain.com\; pct=100

v: Signifies the DMARC version in use.
p: Signifies the policy established by the business.
rua: Specifies the URI for sending a consolidated report, including information on SPF and DKIM validation results, details about the sending and receiving domains, and the percentage of successful authentications.
ruf: Specifies the email address where the comprehensive SPF/DKIM failure report will be delivered.
pct: Denotes the percentage of emails subject to the policy application.

To prevent emails from being marked as spam, bounced, or experiencing delays in delivery, it is mandatory to set your policy (p) to none in DMARC record. “p = none”

If the policy (p) is set to "quarantine" or "reject," the emails will either be redirected to the spam folder or will not be delivered to the recipient, respectively. 

Ensure DMARC Alignment 

DMARC alignment pertains to the uniformity in the alignment of email authentication mechanisms, particularly SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), with the domain asserted by the sender.

Sample DMARC - SPF Alignment

Sender Address

From: Header

Strict Alignment

Relaxed Alignment

support@mycompany.com

support@mycompany.com

Pass

Pass

support@admin. mycompany.com

support@mycompany.com

Fail

Pass

support@mycompany.org

support@mycompany.com

Fail

Fail

 
SPF Strict Alignment: A precise match between the SPF-authenticated domain and the domain specified in the header's "From:" address. 

SPF Relaxed Alignment: The domain indicated in the "From:" address of the header should either match or be a subdomain of the SPF-authenticated domain. 

Sample DMARC - DKIM Alignment

From: Header

DKIM d= domain

Strict Alignment

Relaxed Alignment

support@mycompany.com

mycompany.com

Pass

Pass

support@admin. mycompany.com

mycompany.com

Fail

Pass

support@mycompany.org

mycompany.com

Fail

Fail


DKIM Strict Alignment: A precise match between the relevant DKIM domain and the domain specified in the header's "From:" address. 

DKIM Relaxed Alignment: The domain mentioned in the "From:" address of the header must either coincide with or be a subdomain of the SPF-authenticated domain. 

Add ARC headers 

Implement ARC (Authenticated Received Chain) authentication to avoid Gmail categorizing the email as unauthenticated, especially when utilizing frequent mail forwarding practices.
For additional information on ARC authentication, please refer to the official Google document linked here.

Set up SPF & DKIM 
Mail authentication protocols such as SPF & DKIM should be implemented for organization sending emails to google or yahoo recipients.

What are the consequences if the deadline is not met? 

Adhering to the sender requirements before the deadline is crucial for optimizing email delivery. Failure to meet the criteria detailed in this article may lead to your email not reaching its destination as intended or being categorized as spam.

Quick Summary:

The Update - Gmail and Yahoo are implementing robust email authentication standards from February 2024.
The Effects - Failure to meet these requirements may result in emails being categorized as spam or not reaching their intended destination.
The Action to be taken - Users sending 5000 or more emails daily must implement SPF,  DKIM and publish DMARC policies. 


Regards,
Sumaya Howth - Product Manager
The Zoho Desk Team

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