Can an SPF test prevent email spoofing?
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a technique for preventing spam, spoofing and other email attacks. The SPF email authentication protocol makes it possible for email senders to provide a list of the mail servers that are authorized to send mail for a given domain. The list is kept in an SPF record in the domain's DNS. When a mail server receives an email, it can perform an SPF test to see whether the IP address in the email's header matches an IP address in the domain's SPF record. If an SPF check results in no matches, the email is not authenticated and may be blocked.
While an SPF test offers some protection against email spoofing, it is not infallible. An SPF test doesn't work on forwarded messages, and an SPF test can't spot email where scammers are simply spoofing the "from" address in the header – the part that's most visible to users. Additionally, keeping SPF records up to date is critical for an SPF test to work, but this task can be complicated and burdensome as organizations change ISPs over time.
These limitations in the SPF test have caused many organizations to turn to DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. This protocol builds on the SPF test as well as the DKIM protocol, requiring that any email pass one or both authentication methods. DMARC provides instructions for how to process email that doesn't authenticate.
While DMARC is a huge step up in the fight against spam and email spoofing, it can be difficult to implement and hard to manage on an ongoing basis. That's why so many companies today are turning to Mimecast DMARC Analyzer to simplify deployment and management of the DMARC protocol.
Strengthen DMARC and SPF tests with Mimecast
Mimecast DMARC Analyzer enables organizations to quickly and easily implement DMARC authentication to build on the security features of SPF tests. As a completely cloud-based solution, DMARC Analyzer is easy and cost-effective to deploy, and significantly reduces the time, cost and effort of managing DMARC as well.
Unlike other DMARC solutions that require a significant investment in professional services for implementation and management, DMARC Analyzer is designed to be easy to use, with self-service email intelligence tools for simplified DMARC deployment.
DMARC Analyzer also provides:
- A 360° view and full insight across email channels – critical to the ability to enforce a DMARC reject policy while making sure that legitimate email does not get blocked.
- Alerts, reports and charts to help achieve enforcement and monitor performance.
- Analyzing software that serves as an expert guide for implementing DMARC as quickly as possible.
What's included in DMARC Analyzer
Mimecast DMARC Analyzer provides a collection of self-service email intelligence tools that help to implement DMARC authentication more quickly and easily. With DMARC Analyzer, email administrators can:
- Make quick and simple DNS updates with a DMARC record setup wizard.
- Ensure complete coverage with unlimited users, domains and domain groups.
- Track progress with summary reports issued daily and weekly.
- Monitor DNS changes over time and receive proactive email prompts when a record changes.
- Validate DMARC, SPF and DKIM records with free record checkers.
- Discover and track down malicious email sources with forensic reports.
- Enjoy faster analysis and DMARC policy enforcement with user-friendly aggregate reports and charts.
- Enhance security with two-factor authentication.
- Deliver DMARC enforcement in the fastest time possible while minimizing risk with managed services provided by Mimecast specialists.
Mimecast Email Security: an all-in-one solution
In addition to DMARC Analyzer, Mimecast provides a suite of email security solutions that address a wide range of threats.
- Malicious URLs. Mimecast URL Protect blocks malicious and suspicious links within emails, using pre-click URL discovery, on-click inline user education and post-click resolution to block dangerous file types and protect users.
- Malicious attachments. Mimecast Attachment Protect uses several techniques to identify and block threats embedded in email attachments. Multiple anti-virus engines, safe file conversion, static file analysis and behavioral sandboxing help to ensure that employees have access to the attachments they need while threats are neutralized.
- Internal threats. Mimecast Internal Email Protect defends against threats that are generated within an email system or that have landed internally. By scanning all internally gendered email for malicious links, attachments or sensitive content, Mimecast helps to stop attacks from spreading silently between users.
- Sophisticated, targeted threats. The Mimecast Secure Email Gateway uses multiple detection engines and intelligence feeds to stop threats at the gateway, including spear-phishing attacks, malware, spam and zero-day attacks.
- Malware-less impersonation attacks. Mimecast Impersonation Protect runs real-time scans of all inbound emails to look for the signs that an email may be using domain similarity to impersonate your brand. Mimecast looks for header anomalies, recently registered domains, sender spoofing and suspicious body content to identify and block domain similarity attacks.
- Domain spoofing. Mimecast Brand Exploit Protect defends against domain spoofing attacks that attempt to lure your employees, customers and others to a website with a similar domain and appearance to yours. Mimecast uses machine learning and quadrillions of targeted scans to identify potentially spoofed sites and take them down before they can do damage.
- Human error. Mimecast Awareness Training educates employees about the biggest risk related to cybersecurity: human error.
FAQs: What is an SPF test?
What is SPF?
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a technique for authenticating email that can help to prevent spammers and attackers from sending messages on behalf of the domain. SPF allows the domain owner to publish a list of authorized mail servers in the DNS record.
What is an SPF test?
When a mail server receives a message, it can perform an SPF test to see if the IP address in the email header matches an address in the domain's DNS. If the IP address is match, the email authenticates and is sent onto the intended recipient. If the email does not authenticate, the email may be blocked.
What is an SPF record check?
An SPF record check is a tool for determining whether an SPF record is valid. An SPF record checker or SPF validator looks up and displays the SPF record and runs tests on it to see if there are any errors in the format or data that could impact successful mail delivery.