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Upgrade Your Email Security with Sender Profile Validation

May 31, 2024 | Blog

Ever gotten excited about a discount offer in your email, only to discover it was a cleverly disguised attempt to steal your shopping credentials?

Every day, a flood of emails arrives, promising deals, updates, and connections. But just like a bustling marketplace can attract both legitimate vendors and cunning pickpockets, our inboxes are vulnerable to deception. With online shopping booming, scammers are constantly crafting emails that look like they’re from your favorite brands. Phishing scams, where imposters impersonate trusted senders to steal personal information, are a constant threat.

That’s where sender profile validation steps in, acting as your inbox’s security guard against these deceptive tactics.

What is Sender Profile Validation?

Imagine sender profile validation as a digital ID check for emails. It verifies if the email address displayed in the “From” field actually matches the legitimate sender.

Think of it like the security guard verifying a store ID before a visitor enters – but instead of a physical store, it’s your inbox.

Here’s how the analogy translates to sender profile validation:

  • The “From” address is the visitor:

Just like the name on the ID, the “From” address is what the email claims to be from.

  • Sender profile validation is the security guard:

Your email provider acts as a security guard, verifying the visitor’s (sender’s) identity.

  • Verification database is the ID check system:

The email provider has a database of verified senders, similar to how security guards might have access to a tenant directory or ID verification system.

Here’s how the process works:

  • The email arrives:

An email arrives in your inbox, displaying a “From” address that supposedly comes from your favorite online store (the visitor ringing the doorbell).

  • Verification happens behind the scenes:

Your email provider, the security guard, checks the sender’s email address against their database of verified senders.

  • Two outcomes:
  1. Valid sender:

If the email address matches a verified sender in the database (confirmed ID), the email gets a green light and reaches your inbox (visitor is allowed in).

  1. Unverified sender:

If the email address doesn’t match a verified sender (suspicious ID), the email might be flagged as spam or sent to a junk folder (visitor denied entry).

Gmail’s Protections for High-Volume Email Senders

In an effort to create a safer and more secure email experience for everyone, Gmail has implemented new requirements (from February 2024) specifically for bulk senders – those who send more than 5,000 emails daily to Gmail addresses. These changes aim to combat spam and make it easier for users to manage their inboxes.

And you’ve probably already guessed it. It involves sender profile validation through enhanced email authentication. In Gmail’s “Protections for a safer, less spammy inbox” there’s a total of 3 major requirements.

  1. Enhanced Email Authentication:

Gone are the days of questioning an email’s legitimacy. To ensure emails are truly from the claimed sender, Gmail now requires high-volume senders to implement strong authentication protocols. This follows established best practices and ultimately closes security gaps commonly exploited by attackers.

  1. Simplified unsubscriptions:

Unsubscribing from unwanted emails should be effortless. By requiring bulk senders to offer a one-click unsubscribe option within their emails, Gmail empowers users to easily manage their inboxes.  Additionally, these senders must process unsubscribe requests within two business days.

  1. Maintaining a Low Spam Rate:

Spam is a universal annoyance. Gmail already employs various tools to filter out unwanted messages, but these new requirements add another layer of protection.  Senders must now maintain a clear spam rate threshold – ideally below 0.10 % and never above 0.30 % – to avoid bombarding users with irrelevant emails. This industry-first initiative promises a significant reduction in spam reaching your inbox.

These changes represent a significant step towards a more secure and user-friendly email experience for everyone. By requiring bulk senders to prioritize authentication, offer easy unsubscribe options, and maintain low spam rates, Gmail fosters a safer online environment for all.

The Power Trio: SPF, DKIM & DMARC in Email Authentication

The new Gmail requirements for bulk senders hinge on a powerful trio of email authentication protocols: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These work together to verify the legitimacy of email senders, significantly reducing the risk of phishing scams and spam landing in your inbox.

By implementing your SPF, DKIM and DMARC, you’re good to go when it comes the first requirement from Gmail – email authentication.

  1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework):

Think of SPF as a whitelist.  It’s a record published in a domain’s DNS (Domain Name System) that specifies authorized email servers for that domain. When receiving an email, email client like Gmail and Outlook check the SPF record of the sender’s domain. If the email originates from a server listed in the SPF record, it’s a good sign.

  1. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail):

DKIM adds a digital signature to each email sent.  This signature acts like a tamper-evident seal, allowing email client to verify that the email hasn’t been altered during transmission.  Think of it like a wax seal on a historical document – if broken, it indicates tampering.

  1. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance):

DMARC takes things a step further. It functions as a policy statement that tells email providers what to do with emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks.  DMARC offers three policy options:

Reject: Instructs the email provider to reject emails that fail authentication entirely.

Quarantine: Places suspicious emails in a spam folder for manual review.

Monitor: Tracks authentication failures and sends reports to the domain owner for analysis.

By implementing these protocols, bulk senders demonstrate their commitment to email security.  In return, Gmail, and other email clients, can confidently identify legitimate emails, reducing the chances of phishing attempts and spam reaching your inbox.

Positive effects of Sender Profile Validation

In today’s crowded inboxes, competition for attention is fierce. By implementing sender profile validation, you gain a significant edge over those who don’t:

Reduced Bounce Rates:

Validated emails have a lower chance of being bounced back due to spam filters, ensuring your marketing messages reach their intended recipients. This translates to cost savings and a more efficient use of your marketing budget.

Measurable ROI:

With higher inbox placement and improved engagement, sender profile validation can directly impact your marketing ROI. You’ll see a rise in website traffic, lead generation, and ultimately, sales conversions.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty:

Building trust with your customers is vital for long-term success. Sender profile validation demonstrates your commitment to data security and ethical marketing practices, fostering customer loyalty and repeat business.

Sender profile validation isn’t just about protecting inboxes; it’s a powerful tool for businesses to enhance their email marketing efforts.

In conclusion, sender profile validation isn’t just a security measure – it’s a strategic investment for businesses.

Heysender blog

Read our other blog entries to get new inspiration for your transactional emails.

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