SparkPost Launches New Email Authentication Service

SparkPost, a cloud-based email delivery service, announced the release of an authentication toolset on Thursday that helps marketers and developers conform to email delivery standards.

Email authentication is used by Email Service Providers (ESPs), like Gmail and Outlook, to validate legitimate emails from potentially nefarious content. It acts like a digital signature of sorts, allowing ESPs to protect their users by blocking potentially malicious emails or spam.

Email authentication services also help protect consumers from spoofing email scams, where cybercriminals pose as an individual or organization to trick email users into downloading malicious software or clicking on a phishing link that will steal confidential data and financial details.

Proper email authentication can also substantially increase email deliverability rates, as ESPs will likely not accept emails that have not been authenticated, meaning that a marketer’s message will never land in the inbox if it has not been properly verified beforehand.

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There are several email authentication and conformance standards, and SparkPost has released three tools to help to address the two most common technical standards: Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

SPF enables email senders to define which IP addresses can send email from a particular domain, while DKIM provides an encryption key and signature to verify that an email message was not spoofed or altered in any way.

SparkPost has unveiled a DKIM Validator to verify whether a message has a working DKIM signature, an SPF Inspector to give domain owners a way to define what mail servers are permitted to send email on their behalf, and a SPF Builder to easily develop a working SPF record for any domain.

“Email authentication standards are critical to protecting an organization’s brand, identity and reputation, but these standards can be difficult to configure and validate,” states Ewan Dennis, developer relations manager at SparkPost. “Working closely with the SparkPost developer community, we’ve developed email authentication tools that not only alert developers and DevOps teams when something’s wrong, but also guide them on how to fix the problem.”

Although SparkPost supports DMARC, it does not at this time have a standalone validation tool for the newer authentication standard. A company spokesperson confirmed via email that a free validation tool for DMARC is on SparkPost’s product roadmap. 

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