In the digital world, email is a mainstay of professional and personal communication. However, as cybercrimes continue to rise, email security has been thrust into the spotlight. Consider that over 75% of targeted cyberattacks begin with an email and 48% of emails sent in 2022 were spam.
In a bid to bolster email security, Google will begin to reject unauthorized emails by February 2024. If a sender attempts to contact Gmail subscribers with an unauthenticated email, they’re likely to see a 550-5.7.26 error message telling them that their mail has been blocked on security grounds.
In short, Gmail will begin to mandate that all emails being sent from its platform now be authenticated using either Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). They have shared clear guidelines before enforcement on February 2024.
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Understanding Email Authentication
Email authentication is key to ensuring that email communications are secure and verified. Both SPF and DKIM are an essential part of this process.
SPF lets you define which hosts are authorized to send emails from your domain, preventing spammers from sending illicit emails. DKIM is an authentication standard using cryptographic signatures that verifies the authenticity of an email. Using this technology, Gmail can effectively distinguish between authentic and spam emails.
Email senders will now have to be authenticated by either one (preferably both) of these two standards. If email authentication fails, Gmail will immediately reject delivery to the recipient.
Impact on Email Senders
While Gmail’s new authentication policies are meant to keep out unverified emails, it’s also a wake-up call for legitimate senders who may need to adjust their practices to comply with the changes. This includes agencies and individuals that provide email marketing services and have to facilitate bulk email campaigns.
Here are some of the common issues that may result in your emails being rejected:
- Misconfiguration of DKIM and SPF records
Incorrectly setting up your DKIM and SPF records is a fairly common reason for email authentication failure.
For example, if you forget to list one of the mechanisms you use via your routings, such as IP4, IP6, mx, a, or any other, anti-spam filters may refuse your emails. This is especially true if you’ve set your SPF to “strict mode.”
- Improper DNS Configuration
Faulty Domain Name System (DNS) configuration is another reason your emails may get rejected.
DNS helps identify machines and resources on the internet or internet protocol networks. If the DNS is not consistent with the DKIM public key, the host won’t be able to authenticate DKIM-verified emails.
- Email Forwarding and Relaying
If emails are forwarded or relayed through other servers that are unauthenticated, they may well get blocked. As a company, you should take steps to ensure emails pass through only verified servers.
This is a proactive step taken by Google to minimize incidents of phishing, spam, and other malicious activity to provide a safer experience for all email users. If you haven’t authenticated your emails, the message is clear: do it now. It ensures your messages are delivered to the recipients and helps protect your sender reputation.
Speak to an Email Marketing Expert to Securely Grow Your Business
Coalition Technologies is one of the world’s leading digital agencies. We have a proven track record of excellence when it comes to helping our clients accelerate growth within a robust security architecture. Feel free to browse through some of our work and customer reviews.
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