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DMARC Not Implemented on Most White House Email Domains: Analysis

Over 95% of the email domains managed by the Executive Office of the President (EOP) haven’t implemented the Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) protocol, the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) has discovered.

After analyzing 26 such domains, GCA discovered that 18 haven’t even started the deployment of DMARC, while 7 of them have implemented the protocol at the lowest level (“none”), which only monitors emails.

Because of that, none of these domains can prevent delivery of spoofed emails, GCA points out. Implementing DMARC ensures that fake emails (known as direct domain spoofing) that spammers and phishers send don’t end up in the users’ inboxes.

Some of the email domains under the control of the EOP include Budget.gov, OMB.gov, WhiteHouse.gov, USTR.gov, OSTP.gov and EOP.gov, all well-known email domains. Only the Max.gov domain has fully implemented the defence against email phishing and spoofing, the GCA report shows.

Without DMARC, these domains can be easily “hijacked” by phishers looking to trick government employees, government contractors, and U.S. citizens. This could lead to money theft, exfiltration of secrets, and could even putt national security at risk.

This widespread lack of DMARC implementation is surprising, given that half a year ago the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding operational directive ordering all federal agencies to start using HTTPS, DMARC and STARTTLS.

As of October 2017, only a small percentage of federal agencies had fully implemented the system, but a January report revealed that half of the U.S. government domains had implemented the protocol, yet most had only implemented the lowest level.

Recently, 4 email domains managed by the EOP have deployed DMARC, with WhiteHouse.gov and EOP.gov, two of the most significant government domains, implementing it at its lowest setting.

“Email domains managed by the EOP are crown jewels that criminals and foreign adversaries covet. The lack of full DMARC deployment across nearly every EOP email address poses a national security risk that must be fixed. The good news is that four new domains have implemented DMARC at the lowest level, which I hope indicates that DMARC deployment is moving forward,” said Philip Reitinger, president and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance.

Related: DMARC Implemented on Half of U.S. Government Domains

Related: DHS Orders Federal Agencies to Use DMARC, HTTPS

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