What is DKIM? What is the benefit? Why Need DKIM?

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What is DKIM? What is the benefit? Why Need DKIM?

What is DKIM? What is the benefit? Why Need DKIM?
What is DKIM? What is the benefit? Why Need DKIM?
(DKIM) Domain Keys Identified Mail is a method to validate the authenticity of email messages. When an email is sent, it is signed with a private key and then validated using a public key in DNS on the receiving mail server (or ISP). 

Why should also implement SPF and DMARC? SPF, DKIM, and DMARC work together to enable different facets of email authentication and deliverability.

SPF defines which IP addresses are allowed to send mail for your domain. Domain Keys Identified Mail protects your email from being forwarded, spoofed, or altered. DMARC specifies how Internet Service providers (ISPs) should handle emails that fail either SPF or DKIM.
DMARC and the DMARC Analyzer work with SPF and DKIM. Together, they can make emails more reliable and get the best result for email security.

For example: If a hacker attempts to send an email on behalf of yourname@yourdomain.com without your Domain Keys Identified Mail private key, the Domain Keys Identified Mail signature will fail immediately and, the email will likely go to spam.

Clarification without Domain Keys Identified Mail, the ISP would be unable to sign and verify the sender’s identity. Thus, the email was classified as spam. As a result, labeled SPAM in the subject line.

What is the benefit of DKIM?

  • Stable domain-level identifiers make email easy to identify. DKIM also ensures that the message’s integrity/content is not compromised.
  • When you have a DKIM signed email, it tends to be more legitimate to your recipients and less likely to reach junk mail filters.
  • Another little-known benefit of DKIM is that ISPs use it to build a reputation for your domain. If you have good sending practices (low spam, bounces, and high engagement), that can improve your ISP’s trust and reputation.

Domain Keys Identified Mail Signature

The Domain Keys Identified Mail signature is in the form of a text string known as a ‘hash value’ to be encrypted with a private DKIM key before has being sent in the email. This private Domain Keys Identified Mail key is only accessible to the sender. For instance, when an email is validated, it includes a DKIM signature. As a result, this process verifies that a message was not modified or altered during transit. That enables an ISP (such as Gmail or Hotmail) to inspect the message and determine if it is still in the same state and has not changed. In other words, no one can intercept your email, modify it or tamper with it, and then send it with new (and possibly fraudulent) information.

As I have noted, this private Domain Keys Identified Mail key is only accessible to the sender. As an illustration of the use of DKIM, Later, the ISP can validate the integrity of the message by retrieving a corresponding public key from the Domain Keys Identified Mail record in your DNS. The encryption used here (similar to that used in SSL) ensures that only messages signed with your private Domain Keys Identified Mail key will pass a public DKIM key check. That is what your public Domain Keys Identified Mail key might look like in your DNS:

DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=domainkey.com; s=google; h=from:content-transfer-encoding:subject:message-id:date:to:mime-version; bh=ZkdwViLQ8B7I9vFIen3+/FXErUusKv3o3PmCuZAwypemGc0o=; b=kFF31DkXsdbP5bMGzOwcivNE4fmsMKX5W2/Yq0yYqXD4Og1fPT6ViqB35uLxLGGhfHv2lqzXBWwFhODPVPauU

Important Keep your DKIM key secret and keep it safe. If a malicious user obtains your secret Domain Keys Identified Mail key, they will forge your Domain Keys Identified Mail signatures.

How to avoid high volume of emails unfamiliar sources Domain Keys Identified Mail passing?

If you see many messages passing through DKIM from unknown sources, there is no need to take action on the domains that show Domain Keys Identified Mail certified. Here I mean, if you see a high volume of emails compliant with Domain Keys Identified Mail from unfamiliar domains, your next step should be to double-check that this is not a trustworthy source. If you discover that it is a legitimate source, you should then configure and set up an SPF to ensure that it consistently passes DMARC.
Under those circumstances, the next time you see Domain Keys Identified Mail passing for a source you do not recognize, you know that the chances of someone spoofing your domain using your DKIM signature are slim. Email forwarding by your recipients is the most likely cause.

What are the easy steps DKIM Implementing needs?

The steps below explain the answer:
  1. Setting up DKIM involves adding new fields to your DNS records.
  2. To get the right DNS entries to add, you should first talk to your ESP (Email Service Provider) for the needed details.
  3. Every email provider is different, so make sure you follow their instructions precisely.
  4. Add your Domain Keys Identified Mail Key on the DNS records to your hosting.
Once you have finished your DNS records set up, you must test your settings with a DKIM analyzer to ensure that everything is working perfectly in your system.

How the DKIM header works 

The table below shows easy point:

DKIM HEADER
v=Shows which version of DKIM is in use
d=Is the domain name of the sender
s=Is the selector that the receiving server should use to look up the DNS record
h=Lists the header fields that are used to create the digital signature or b. In this case, the from, to, and subject headers are used. If ABZ sent an email to ABCD using the example.com domain and the subject line was "Ready to read," the content used here would be "ABZ@example.com" + "ABCD@example.com" + "Ready to read". (This content would also be canonicalized — put into a standardized format.)
bh=Is the hash of the email body. A hash is the result of a specialized mathematical function called a hash function. This is included so that the receiving email server can compute the signature before the entire email body loads, since email bodies can be any length and loading it may take a long time in some cases.
a=Is the algorithm used to compute the digital signature, or b, as well as generate the hash of the email body, or bh. In this example, RSA-SHA-256 is in use (RSA using SHA-256 as the hash function for the digital signature, and SHA-256 for the body hash).
b= Is the digital signature, generated from h and bh and signed with the private key.

The header works:

DKIM requires the sending server to sign an email with a key. That includes the body and several headers such as From, To, subject, and date. This “signature” is an extra header that helps the mail servers to verify through it.

The sending domain DNS zone publishes the Public DKIM key.

Therefore, the arrival of an email message is very important, for both the sender and the second party. Additionally, the sender adding DKIM record helps the second party (service provider) validate the email message came as it without changing the time, date, or content.

On the other hand, the service provider can access or find the records data as a selector. _domainkey in TXT or CNAME records. As a result, a domain can have more than one key. That is beneficial if, in addition to the regular email included with the hosting package, there are multiple senders, such as Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365.

Who makes the DKIM selector available?

The DKIM selector that must be used is determined by the source where DKIM must be configured. For some sources, it is possible to pick a custom selector, but this relies on what choices the sender has. Furthermore, other senders may require the organization to publish multiple selectors on their domains, for instance, to support automated Domain Keys Identified Mail key rotation through CNAME records.

Click here for this link. How to find a DKIM selector for an existing Domain Keys Identified Mail-supported mail flow? And how to find the Domain Keys Identified Mail selector via the DMARC Analyzer Suite?

What is the procedure for validating a DKIM record?

First, ensure you have a valid DKIM record ready for publication. Secondly, to validate the legitimacy of the Domain Keys Identified Mail record for a specific domain, use the DKIM checker tool. We strongly advise you to thoroughly test any updates to the Domain Keys Identified Mail records before implementing them.

As I have noted, setting up the correct DKIM record is a critical part of your technical configuration. Click here the page explains how to check and validate your DKIM record?.

DKIM record checker
DKIM record checker

How to Test a DKIM Signature Quickly?

To begin with, make sure your domain has a DKIM setup. After that, start testing the Domain Keys Identified Mail signature by sending a test email to any of your mail accounts.

The main steps below are those you need to follow in checking and testing DKIM on Gmail DKIM-signed on Gmail:
  1. Send a test email to your Gmail account after adding the DKIM signature record.
  2. The email arrives in your inbox, open it.
  3. Click on the dropdown menu near the ‘reply’ icon (top right corner).
  4. Click ‘Show original.’
  5. You can now see more information in the email, including ‘signed-by,’ followed by your domain name. On the positive side, It shows that the DKIM signature is active. On the negative side, It indicates that the Domain Keys Identified Mail signature is inactive.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Domain Keys Identified Mail is a method to validate the authenticity of email messages. Domain Keys Identified Mail protects against phishing and scams. ISPs use it to build a reputation for your domain. If you have good sending practices, that can improve your ISP’s trust and reputation. This private key is only accessible to the sender. If a malicious user obtains your secret key, they will forge your DKIM signatures. The encryption used is similar to that used in SSL. Domain Keys Identified Mail requires the sending server to sign an email with a key. Add your key to the DNS records for your hosting and test your settings with a Domain Keys Identified Mail analyzer.
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