Re: [dmarc-ietf] DMARC'ed reports, was Forensic report loops are a problem

Alessandro Vesely <> Tue, 02 February 2021 17:20 UTC

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To: Dave Crocker <>, John R Levine <>
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From: Alessandro Vesely <>
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Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2021 18:19:59 +0100
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Subject: Re: [dmarc-ietf] DMARC'ed reports, was Forensic report loops are a problem
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On Tue 02/Feb/2021 02:42:25 +0100 Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 2/1/2021 5:38 PM, John R Levine wrote:
>> If we want to document existing practice, I guess we would say that reports 
>> should be authenticated and aligned if practical, but it's OK to send them if 
>> not.
> exactly.

I changed it again, for failure reports, like so:

3.3.  Transport

    Email streams carrying DMARC failure reports SHOULD conform to the
    DMARC mechanism, thereby resulting in an aligned "pass".  This
    requirement is a MUST in case the sending host has a DMARC record
    featuring a ruf= tag.  Indeed, special care must be taken of
    authentication in that case, as failure to authenticate failure
    reports may result in mail loops.

    Reporters SHOULD rate limit the number of failure reports sent to any
    recipient to avoid overloading recipient systems.  Again, in case the
    reports being sent are in turn at risk of being reported for DMARC
    authentication failure, reporters MUST make sure that possible mail
    loop are stopped.

Some comments upthread allude to the reporter's policy.  To be clear, the DMARC 
mechanism which results in an aligned pass is meant to say that the report is 
SPF or DKIM authenticated , the authenticated identifier is aligned with From:, 
and a DMARC record has been discovered.  The value of p= is irrelevant.

Indeed, from a security perspective, a faked failure report is not much 
different from an abusive message.  To wit, a bad actor could send one or the 
other, directly to the victim or, respectively, to a server that will report to 
the victim.