Shield your digital advertising toolbox with e mail safety

Email alert

Email has become an indispensable and valuable tool for marketers and cyber criminals know it, which is why it has become a popular target as well. With an estimated 4.6 billion email users through 2025, email will remain a major marketing asset – its high ROI can generate $ 42 for every $ 1 spent.

About the author

Seth Blank is the Chief Product Officer at Valimail, an identity-based anti-phishing company. As a serial entrepreneur and startup manager with several acquisitions, he brings 20 years of experience in building successful teams and scalable, profitable technologies. Seth chairs several industry boards that develop email authentication technologies.

As brands continue to use email in their digital marketing campaigns, it has never been more important to face the challenge of keeping email safe from hackers. Without a robust security system and process, brands run the risk of doing serious damage to their reputation – let alone their bottom line.

The most effective way to protect yourself and your customers from cyber attacks like malware, phishing scams, and spoofing is to build email authentication into your marketing tech stack.

It’s time to step up your email security game

Email marketers can use a number of strategies to:

  • Addressing and handling mailbox policy changes such as Apple’s recent updates to mail privacy protection
  • Improving deliverability and increasing open rates
  • Respect for consumer privacy through regulations like CCPA and GDPR

The best strategy for smooth email traffic? One protocol – the gold standard for strong email authentication – is Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance or DMARC. This effective tool ensures that only brand-authorized emails reach their intended recipients. It adds a layer of protection that prevents unauthorized users and cyber criminals from targeting customers and employees with malicious emails that contain phishing links, malware, spoofs, or suspicious attachments.

While all marketers think their emails are safe and useful (and that their target customers want to receive them), when brands adopt DMARC, they see an average 10% increase in email deliverability.

Use the power of DMARC to authenticate emails

All brands, regardless of their size, can attract unwanted attention from cyber criminals. According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, attacks on business email compromise (BEC) impersonating trusted corporate users cost US $ 1.8 billion in financial losses in 2020 Dollar.

By adopting DMARC, companies protect themselves from costly phishing attacks, spoofing, malware and other scams. DMARC enables mailbox providers to reliably assign a reputation to an unauthenticated identity – and to treat this type of email differently than authorized email. By implementing DMARC, brands ensure that authorized emails get the treatment they deserve, whether it’s directed to the inbox, spam folder, or outright denied based on shipping habits.

Its biggest benefit, however, is DMARC’s ability to improve reputation and deliverability by preventing malicious emails sent under the guise of a brand name.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

DMARC stops BEC attacks

In 2020, 71% of IT and cybersecurity professionals said their organizations had experienced a BEC attack. In this type of phishing attack, hackers spoof corporate e-mail accounts for corporate executives for financial gain. But it’s not just individuals who are being copied by hackers:

  • 53% of phishing emails appear to be from bosses or managers
  • 66% of phishing emails contain individual target names
  • 68% of phishing emails contain company names

Since it considers any attempt by a cybercriminal to use your domain as unauthenticated, DMARC effectively blocks these untrustworthy emails from even reaching the inboxes of the intended recipients. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has contracted the implementation of DMARC for all U.S. federal civil agencies in recognition of its effectiveness in preventing BEC attacks.

Build brand resilience when security and marketing work together

The collaboration between marketing and safety leaders benefits the brands they support. Marketing teams provide insights into the strategies, tactics, and tools they are using to drive conversions and drive sales. Security staff highlighted the importance of tighter security controls to comply with regulations, ward off phishing and BEC attacks, and avoid the direct or indirect financial consequences of a successful email breach.

A multi-faceted approach can enable any department to understand each other’s goals, motivations, and priorities while ensuring acceptance for the adoption of DMARC as an effective – and necessary – digital marketing tool.

DMARC offers tangible advantages

DMARC ensures the legitimacy of emails by filtering out phishing scams and malicious messages. By preventing hackers from co-opting and using domain names, the risks to brands are reduced. Organizations that post a DMARC record for their domains – and actively enforce this policy on inbound email sent from outside sources – are less likely to experience a breach that:

  • The solution costs a lot of time and resources
  • Damage the brand’s reputation
  • Eroding customer trust
  • Request additional security or audit requirements
  • trigger legal action or fines

The typical email recipient has probably never heard of DMARC or BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), a new email specification that enables branded logos to be used in supporting email clients, and the DMARC in use -Protection uses.

BIMI is intended as a reward for domains that publish a DMARC policy when enforced. The email community wants more domains to post DMARC records as it benefits the ecosystem. The organizations behind the development of BIMI developed the email specification in the hopes that logos would drive engagement, including open rates and clicks.

DMARC and other authentication technologies are the email equivalent of driver’s licenses and other government-issued IDs. This technology provides a way to verify the purported identity associated with the email address shown in the “From” field of a message. Once verified, attributes are reliably assigned to the identity – and these attributes can lead to other benefits (in the designated inbox) or penalties (sent to spam or not delivered at all).

DMARC marketers should use these security features to demonstrate their commitment to customer security and efficient communication. And when brands achieve enforcement, they can be assured that anyone who sends email under their name is legitimate.

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