Use DMARC Reports to validate email in Microsoft Office 365
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) helps protect against spoofing and phishing, and prevents benign messages from being marked as spam.
DMARC Reporting makes you aware of DMARC email authentication decisions at recipient mail server.
Office 365 DMARC reporting
In Office 365, the DMARC reports are sent to all sender domain owners that have a valid rua address defined in their DMARC record (independent of your platform or configuration).
The only exception is where the MX record for the recipient domain doesn't directly point to Office 365. In that case no DMARC Report is sent to the sender domain owner rua address.
Mailbox A > recipient domain contoso.com
Mailbox A MX record > points to Office 365 at contoso-com.mail.protection.outlook.com
Mailbox A report result > automatically sent an aggregated DMARC report to all email sender domain owners with a valid rua address in their DMARC record.
But if the contoso.com domain's MX record points to a different email security solution that sits in front of Office 365, then no DMARC aggregate reports are sent to any sender domain's rua address (configured in their DMARC record). This is because information about the sending infrastructure is likely affected by the complex mail flow routing.
Microsoft currently has no plans to send forensic reports (ruf).
What DMARC Reports do for you
It's recommended that admins set up and regularly review DMARC Reporting in their domain.
Admins should regularly read and monitor the daily DMARC reports sent in email. The reports outline what messages from the domain pass one of email authentication methods Sender Policy Framework (SPF), or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and the verdict of DMARC authentication.
DMARC Reports outline:
- The servers or services sending email from your domain.
- The servers or services that pass or fail DMARC authentication.
- Note that email must also pass one of SPF or DKIM to pass DMARC.
- The actions that DMARC takes on a server that gets unauthenticated mail from your domain. The options are:
DMARC reports let you know who is sending mail on your domain, and can alert you to potential spammers. Another advantage is that once most messages pass DMARC, admins can change enforcement by creating a stricter DMARC policy. This makes the environment increasingly unfriendly to spoofing and phishing.
Reviewing DMARC reports can verify that messages are sent by authorized servers, and determine whether they pass authentication checks. Over time, this will allow admins to fine tune their response, choosing from amongst reject, quarantine, or no response (none).
Reading your DMARC Reports
When DMARC is turned on, reports are sent daily to the email address or addresses specified in your DMARC record (reports using the rua tag in the DMARC record contain the email information).
Every server that gets mail from your domain also sends back an XML DMARC report, including whether messages coming out of your domain pass or fail DMARC. You'll also see:
- Any results for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC email authentication.
- How many messages came from each IP address that day.
Interpreting your DMARC data
The numbers of DMARC emails varies in the same way the amount of email your domain sends does. For example, there may be lulls during holidays, and peaks during an organization's events. This can add up to a lot of reporting, so it's best to dedicate a group and mailbox to the practice of getting and analyzing these reports.
DMARC Reports can be difficult to read and interpret. Using a third-party service that specializes in DMARC, from receiving and storing this data, to analyzing and even aggregating reports, may be the answer.
Ultimately the value of your DMARC investment, how effectively it's working, and whether or not it's meeting goals comes down to analyzing the data. If your DMARC Reports are handled by a 3rd party have a discussion about your key DMARC objectives.
SPF SPF helps validate outbound email sent from your custom domain (is coming from who it says it is).
DKIM email authentication's goal is to prove the contents of the mail haven't been tampered with.
DMARC email authentication's goal is to make sure that SPF and DKIM information matches the From address.