Only 6% of news organizations in an Axios study use technology that guarantees emails sent are authentic.
News publishers are increasingly turning to email alerts and newsletters to foster direct relationships with their audiences.
Conde Nast International just launched a new B2B titleVogue Business as a twice weekly newsletter and digital publication.
Politico’s Pro subscription-based newsletter offering expanded to California recently, Bloomberg’s TicToc — a 24/7 news network built for social-media — grew beyond the platform with a dedicated newsletter, while The Washington Post created a new newsletter for technology policy.
Axios says the lack of email protection makes publishers “a target for spammers, scammers and purveyors of disinformation or fraud.” A hacker could send an email from a publisher’s email address.
“Imagine a news alert that appears to come from a business publication claiming a company was going bankrupt,” or “a newsletter on Election Day claiming a candidate had suddenly changed position on a key issue.”
New organizations are busy combating fake news on social-media platforms. It could get dicey if malicious players turn to email as their new platform to deceive audiences.
For the study, Axios used a tool designed by email security company Valimail to check 199 different news sites and their use of DMARC, a security protocol that can prevent hacked email accounts.
DMARC works by allowing inboxes to verify whether an email was sent by the right email server. If the email is fake, the server can direct the inbox to deliver the email elsewhere (like the trash or spam folders), according to Axios.
Just 12 of those nearly 200 outlets included in the study use DMARC in a way that would prevent fake email from getting to its target. More than half of the sites tested were not using DMARC at all.
Of the 98 local news sites in the study, just one had fully operational DMARC.Some of the publications not protected by DMARC include The New York Times, USA Today, Fox, NBC, Voice of America, and even Axios.