What does DKIM stand for?

DomainKeys Identified Mail

DKIM, short for “DomainKeys Identified Mail,” is a type of email verification system. It was developed to shield email users from spam and harmful activities like phishing. The system confirms the legitimacy of the organizations sending the emails.

With the internet’s progression during the 1990s and 2000s, spam became more prevalent. As a result, enhanced safety measures were implemented to defend email users and confirm the validity of emails sent by the senders. DKIM is one of these measures, along with the SPF and DMARC specifications.

The creation of DKIM happened in 2004, following the merging of Yahoo’s Domain Keys specification and Cisco’s Identified Internet Mail specification. It quickly gained popularity with many Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including companies like AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google.

DKIM serves as a digital signature for an email, facilitating the message’s authentication. This digital signature is inserted into the email’s header and then cross-checked against a public cryptographic key in the Domain Name System (DNS) records of the organization transmitting the message.

Most importantly, the actual email users don’t directly interact with DKIM. The inbound mail server is responsible for confirming that the message sent by the domain owner is legitimate before the user receives it.

Finally, DKIM holds significant importance for companies sending promotional emails. If these businesses don’t provide the correct credentials, their messages won’t get authenticated and delivered to their potential clients.

Example for using ‘DKIM’ in a conversation

Hey, have you ever heard of DKIM?

No, what’s that?

It stands for “DomainKeys Identified Mail.” It’s a way to authenticate emails and protect against spam and phishing.

Oh, that sounds useful. How does it work?

Well, it adds a digital signature to the email’s header, which is then validated against a public key in the organization’s DNS records.

I see. So, it helps verify the legitimacy of the sender?

Exactly! It’s especially important for businesses sending marketing emails. Without proper authentication, their messages won’t reach potential customers.