Return Path Helps Retail Giant Cut Suspicious Email by 99%

Posted by Brian Westnedge on

The retail/service industry was the most-targeted by phishing attacks in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to APWG, with payment services close behind.

Implementing a DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) record can be a game-changing step for these heavily attacked retail companies, as this story from a large US retailer Return Path client proves.

In 2014, this company suffered from a major email security problem. Its main sending domain was hijacked to send more than 600,000 suspicious messages (either spam or phishing) per week. Cybercriminals were using this well-known and historic brand name to steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other private information from customers.

But the brand didn’t have a policy in place to identify and block these threats. In addition, large numbers of their legitimate emails weren’t getting through because of sub-optimal authentication protocols.

The DMARC solution

To reduce the fraud associated with this brand’s main sending domains, Return Path helped implement the email authentication standard DMARC.

DMARC ensures that legitimate email is properly authenticating against established DKIM and SPF standards, and that fraudulent activity appearing to come from domains under the organization’s control (active email domains, non-sending domains, and defensively registered domains) is blocked.

In partnership with the world’s largest consumer mailbox providers, Return Path interprets regular authentication reports to reveal what email is authenticating, what email is not, and why.

Thanks to Return Path, this retail giant gained full visibility into its email ecosystem, and can now block email attacks purporting to be legitimate before they reach the inbox.

Results

The DMARC policy yielded profound results:

  • The amount of suspicious messages per week from the main sending domain dropped from 600,000 messages to 42,800—a decrease of 92.8%.
  • The amount of suspicious messages per week coming from a secondary sending domain dropped 95.6%—from 345,000 suspicious messages per week to just 15,000.
  • Thanks to Return Path, this company saw a 98.99% drop in suspicious email volume across all main sending domains.
  • Overall, the brand has experienced a 73% drop in authentication failures of legitimate mail across all domains, giving their marketing, transactional and customer support emails the best possible chance of being delivered.

Want to hear more customer success stories from Return Path? Click here.


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About Brian Westnedge

Brian is Senior Director of Client Services for Email Fraud Protection at Return Path, where his team supports our customers with strategy and implementation to keep malicious mail out of the inbox while protecting legitimate mail. He has been with Return Path for 12 years and has spent a majority of that time fighting email fraud and abuse and advocating on behalf of brands and consumers around the world. Connect with Brian @bwestnedge on Twitter.

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