DomainKeys Identified Mail                                     T. Hansen
Internet-Draft                                         AT&T Laboratories
Intended status: Informational                                 E. Siegel
Expires: December 5, 2009                         Constant Contact, Inc.
                                                         P. Hallam-Baker
                                                           VeriSign Inc.
                                                              D. Crocker
                                             Brandenburg InternetWorking
                                                            June 3, 2009

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Development, Deployment and Operations

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted to IETF in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at

   This Internet-Draft will expire on December 5, 2009.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents in effect on the date of
   publication of this document (
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 1]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009


   DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) allows an organization to claim
   responsibility for transmitting a message, in a way that can be
   validated by a recipient.  The organization can be the author's, the
   originating sending site, an intermediary, or one of their agents.  A
   message can contain multiple signatures, from the same or different
   organizations involved with the message.  DKIM defines a domain-level
   digital signature authentication framework for email, using public
   key cryptography, using the domain name service as its key server
   technology [RFC4871].  This permits verification of a responsible
   organization, as well as the integrity of the message contents.  DKIM
   will also provide a mechanism that permits potential email signers to
   publish information about their email signing practices; this will
   permit email receivers to make additional assessments about messages.
   DKIM's authentication of email identity can assist in the global
   control of "spam" and "phishing".  This document provides
   implementation, deployment, operational and migration considerations
   for DKIM.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 2]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   2.  Using DKIM as Part of Trust Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     2.1.  A Systems View of Email Trust Assessment . . . . . . . . .  5
     2.2.  Choosing a DKIM Tag for the Assessment Identifier  . . . .  7
     2.3.  Choosing the Signing Domain Name . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
     2.4.  Recipient-based Assessments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     2.5.  Filtering  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   3.  DKIM Key Generation, Storage, and Management . . . . . . . . . 14
     3.1.  Private Key Management: Deployment and Ongoing
           Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     3.2.  Storing Public Keys: DNS Server Software Considerations  . 16
     3.3.  Per User Signing Key Management Issues . . . . . . . . . . 17
     3.4.  Third Party Signer Key Management and Selector
           Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     3.5.  Key Pair / Selector Lifecycle Management . . . . . . . . . 18
   4.  Signing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
     4.1.  DNS Records  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
     4.2.  Signing Module . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
     4.3.  Signing Policies and Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
   5.  Verifying  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
     5.1.  Intended Scope of Use  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
     5.2.  Signature Scope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
     5.3.  Design Scope of Use  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
     5.4.  Inbound Mail Filtering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     5.5.  Messages sent through Mailing Lists and other
           Intermediaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     5.6.  Generation, Transmission and Use of Results Headers  . . . 24
   6.  Taxonomy of Signatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
     6.1.  Single Domain Signature  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
     6.2.  Parent Domain Signature  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
     6.3.  Third Party Signature  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
     6.4.  Using Trusted Third Party Senders  . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     6.5.  Multiple Signatures  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
   7.  Example Usage Scenarios  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
     7.1.  Author's Organization - Simple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
     7.2.  Author's Organization - Differentiated Types of Mail . . . 31
     7.3.  Author Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
     7.4.  Author Domain Signing Practices  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
     7.5.  Delegated Signing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
     7.6.  Independent Third Party Service Providers  . . . . . . . . 34
     7.7.  Mail Streams Based on Behavioral Assessment  . . . . . . . 34
     7.8.  Agent or Mediator Signatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
   8.  Usage Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
     8.1.  Non-standard Submission and Delivery Scenarios . . . . . . 35
     8.2.  Protection of Internal Mail  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
     8.3.  Signature Granularity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 3]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

     8.4.  Email Infrastructure Agents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
     8.5.  Mail User Agent  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
   9.  Other Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
     9.1.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
     9.2.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
   10. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
   11. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
   Appendix A.  Migrating from DomainKeys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
     A.1.  Signers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
     A.2.  Verifiers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
   Appendix B.  General Coding Criteria for Cryptographic
                Applications  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 4]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

1.  Introduction

   DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) allows an organization to claim
   responsibility for transmitting a message, in a way that can be
   validated by a recipient.  This document provides practical tips for:
   those who are developing DKIM software, mailing list managers,
   filtering strategies based on the output from DKIM verification, and
   DNS servers; those who are deploying DKIM software, keys, mailing
   list software, and migrating from DomainKeys; and those who are
   responsible for the on-going operations of an email infrastructure
   that has deployed DKIM.

   The document is organized around the key concepts related to DKIM.
   Within each section, additional considerations specific to
   development, deployment, or ongoing operations are highlighted where
   appropriate.  The possibility of use of DKIM results as input to a
   local reputation database is also discussed.

2.  Using DKIM as Part of Trust Assessment

2.1.  A Systems View of Email Trust Assessment

   DKIM participates in a trust-oriented enhancement to the Internet's
   email service, to facilitate message handling decisions, such as for
   delivery and for content display.  Trust-oriented message handling
   has substantial differences from approaches that consider messages in
   terms of risk and abuse.  With trust, there is a collaborative
   exchange between a willing participant along the sending path and a
   willing participant at the recipient site.  In contrast, the risk
   model entails independent action by the recipient site, in the face
   of a potentially unknown, hostile and deceptive sender.  This
   translates into a very basic technical difference: In the face of
   unilateral action by the recipient and even antagonistic efforts by
   the sender, risk-oriented mechanisms will be based on heuristics,
   that is, on guessing.  Guessing produces statistical results with
   some false negatives and some false positives.  For trust-based
   exchanges, the goal is the deterministic exchange of information.
   For DKIM, that information is the one identifier that represents a
   stream of mail for which an independent assessment is sought (by the

   A trust-based service is built upon a validated Responsible
   Identifier that labels a stream of mail and is controlled by an
   identity (role, person or organization).  The identity is
   acknowledging some degree of responsibility for the message stream.
   Given a basis for believing that an identifier is being used in an
   authorized manner, the recipient site can make and use an assessment

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 5]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   of the associated identity.  An identity can use different
   identifiers, on the assumption that the different streams might
   produce different assessments.  For example, even the best-run
   marketing campaigns will tend to produce some complaints that can
   affect the reputation of the associated identifier, whereas a stream
   of transactional messages is likely to have a more pristine

   Determining that the identifier's use is valid is quite different
   from determining that the content of a message is valid.  The former
   means only that the identifier for the responsible role, person or
   organization has been legitimately associated with a message.  The
   latter means that the content of the message can be believed and,
   typically, that the claimed author of the content is correct.  DKIM
   validates only the presence of the identifier used to sign the
   message.  Even when this identifier is validated, DKIM carries no
   implication that any of the message content, including the
   RFC5322.From field, is valid.  Surprisingly, this limit to the
   semantics of a DKIM signature applies even when the validated signing
   identifier is the same domain name as is used in the From: field!
   DKIM's only claim about message content is that the content cited in
   the DKIM-Signature: field's h= tag has been delivered without
   modification.  That is, it asserts message content integrity, not
   message content validity.

   As shown in Figure 1, this enhancement is a communication between a
   responsible role, person or organization that signs the message and a
   recipient organization that assesses its trust in the signer and then
   makes handling decisions based on a collection of assessments, of
   which the DKIM mechanism is only a part.  In this model, validation
   is an intermediary step, having the sole task of passing a validated
   Responsible Identifier to the Identity Assessor.  The communication
   is of a single Responsible Identifier that the Responsible Identity
   wishes to have used by the Identity Assessor.  The Identifier is the
   sole, formal input and output value of DKIM signing.  The Identity
   Assessor uses this single, provided Identifier for consulting
   whatever assessment data bases are deemed appropriate by the
   assessing entity.  In turn, output from the Identity Assessor is fed
   into a Handling Filter engine that considers a range of factors,
   along with this single output value; the range of factors can include
   ancillary information from the DKIM validation.

   Identity Assessment covers a range of possible functions.  It can be
   as simple as determining whether the identifier is a member of some
   list, such as authorized operators or participants in a group that
   might be of interest for recipient assessment.  Equally, it can
   indicate a degree of trust (reputation) that is to be afforded the
   actor using that identifier.  The extent to which the assessment

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 6]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   affects handling of the message is, of course, determined later, by
   the Handling Filter.

     +------+------+                            +------+------+
     |   Author    |                            |  Recipient  |
     +------+------+                            +------+------+
            |                                          ^
            |                                          |
            |                                   +------+------+
            |                                -->|  Handling   |<--
            |                                -->|   Filter    |<--
            |                                   +-------------+
            |                                          ^
            V                  Responsible             |
     +-------------+           Identifier       +------+------+
     | Responsible |. .       . . . . . . . . .>|  Identity   |
     |  Identity   |  .       .                 |  Assessor   |
     +------+------+  .       .                 +-------------+
            |         .       .                       ^ ^
            V         .       .                       | |
   +------------------.-------.--------------------+  | |
   | +------+------+  . . . . .   +-------------+  |  | |  +-------------+
   | | Identifier  |              |  Identifier +--|--+ +--+ Assessment  |
   | |   Signer    +------------->|  Validator  |  |       | Databases   |
   | +-------------+              +-------------+  |       +-------------+
   |                 DKIM Service                  |

              Figure 1: Actors in a Trust Sequence using DKIM

2.2.  Choosing a DKIM Tag for the Assessment Identifier

   The signer of a message needs to be able to provide precise data and
   know what that data will mean upon delivery to the Assessor.  If
   there is ambiguity in the choice that will be made on the receive
   side, then the sender cannot know what basis for assessment will be
   used.  DKIM has three values that specify identification information
   and it is easy to confuse their use, although only one defines the
   formal input and output of DKIM, with the other two being used for
   internal protocol functioning and adjunct purposes, such as auditing
   and debugging.

   The salient values include the s=, d= and i= parameters in the DKIM-
   Signature: header field.  In order to achieve the end-to-end
   determinism needed for this collaborative exchange from the signer to
   the assessor, the core model needs to specify what the signer is
   required to provide to the assessor.  The Update to RFC4871
   [rfc4871-update]now specifies:

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 7]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

      DKIM's primary task is to communicate from the Signer to a
      recipient-side Identity Assessor a single Signing Domain
      Identifier (SDID) that refers to a responsible identity.  DKIM MAY
      optionally provide a single responsible Agent or User Identifier
      (AUID)...  A receive-side DKIM verifier MUST communicate the
      Signing Domain Identifier (d=) to a consuming Identity Assessor
      module and MAY communicate the User Agent Identifier (i=) if
      present....  To the extent that a receiver attempts to intuit any
      structured semantics for either of the identifiers, this is a
      heuristic function that is outside the scope of DKIM's
      specification and semantics.

   The single, mandatory value that DKIM supplies as its output is:

      d=    This specifies the "domain of the signing entity."  It is a
         domain name and is combined with the Selector to form a DNS
         query...  A receive-side DKIM verifier MUST communicate the
         Signing Domain Identifier (d=) to a consuming Identity Assessor
         module and MAY communicate the User Agent Identifier (i=) if

   The adjunct values are:

      s=    This tag specifies the Selector.  It is used to discriminate
         among different keys that can be used for the same d= domain
         name.  As discussed in Section 4.3 of [I-D.ietf-dkim-overview]:
         "If verifiers were to employ the selector as part of a name
         assessment mechanism, then there would be no remaining
         mechanism for making a transition from an old, or compromised,
         key to a new one."  Consequently, the Selector is not
         appropriate for use as part or all of the identifier used to
         make assessments.

      i=    This tag is optional and provides the "[i]dentity of the
         user or agent (e.g., a mailing list manager) on behalf of which
         this message is signed."  The identity can be in the syntax of
         an entire email address or only a domain name.  The domain name
         can be the same as for d= or it can be a sub-name of the d=

         NOTE: Although the i= identity has the syntax of an email
         address, it is not required to have that semantics.  That is,
         "the identity of the user" need not be the same as the user's
         mailbox.  For example the signer might wish to use i= to encode

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 8]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

         user-related audit information, such as how they were accessing
         the service at the time of message posting.  Therefore it is
         not possible to conclude anything from the i= string's
         (dis)similarity to email addresses elsewhere in the header

   So, i= can have any of these properties:

      *  Be a valid domain when it is the same as d=

      *  Appear to be a sub-domain of d= but might not even exist

      *  Look like a mailbox address but might have different semantics
         and therefore not function as a valid email address

      *  Be unique for each message, such as indicating access details
         of the user for the specific posting

   This underscores why the tag needs to be treated as being opaque,
   since it can represent any semantics, known only to the signer.

   Hence, i= serves well as a token that is usable like a Web cookie,
   for return to the signing ADMD -- such as for auditing and debugging.
   Of course in some scenarios the i= string might provide a useful
   adjunct value for additional (heuristic) processing by the Handling

2.3.  Choosing the Signing Domain Name

   A DKIM signing entity can serve different roles, such as author of
   content, versus operator of the mail service, versus operator of a
   reputation service.  In these different roles, the basis for
   distinguishing among portions of email traffic can vary.  For an
   entity creating DKIM signatures it is likely that different portions
   of its mail will warrant different levels of trust.  For example:

      *  Mail is sent for different purposes, such as marketing vs.
         transactional, and recipients demonstrate different patterns of
         acceptance between these.

      *  For an operator of an email service, there often are distinct
         sub-populations of users warranting different levels of trust
         or privilege, such as paid vs. free users, or users engaged in
         direct correspondence vs. users sending bulk mail.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009                [Page 9]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

      *  Mail originating outside an operator's system, such as when it
         is redistributed by a mailing list service run by the operator,
         will warrant a different reputation from mail submitted by
         users authenticated with the operator.

   It is therefore likely to be useful for a signer to use different d=
   sub-domain names, for different message traffic streams, so that
   receivers can make differential assessments.  However, too much
   differentiation -- that is, too fine a granularity of signing domains
   -- makes it difficult for the receiver to discern a sufficiently
   stable pattern of traffic for developing an accurate and reliable
   assessment.  So the differentiation needs to achieve a balance.
   Generally in a trust system, legitimate signers have an incentive to
   pick a small stable set of identities, so that recipients and others
   can attribute reputations to them.  The set of these identities a
   receiver trusts is likely to be quite a bit smaller than the set it
   views as risky.

   The challenge in using additional layers of sub-domains is whether
   the extra granularity will be useful for the assessor.  In fact,
   potentially excessive levels invites ambiguity: if the assessor does
   not take advantage of the added granularity, then what granularity
   will it use?  That ambiguity would move the use of DKIM back to the
   realm of heuristics, rather than the deterministic processing that is
   its goal.

   Hence the challenge is to determine a useful scheme for labeling
   different traffic streams.  The most obvious choices are among
   different types of content and/or different types of authors.
   Although stability is essential, it is likely that the choices will
   change, over time, so the scheme needs to be flexible.

   For those originating message content, the most likely choice of sub-
   domain naming scheme will by based upon type of content, which can
   use content-oriented labels or service-oriented labels.  For example:

   where the choices are best dictated by whether they provide the
   Identity Assessor with the ability to discriminate usefully among
   streams of mail that demonstrate significantly different degrees of
   recipient acceptance or safety.  Again, the danger in providing too

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 10]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   fine a granularity is that related message streams that are labeled
   separately will not benefit from an aggregate reputation.

   For those operating messaging services on behalf of a variety of
   customers, an obvious scheme to use has a different sub-domain label
   for each customer.  For example:


   However it can also be appropriate to label by the class of service
   or class of customer, such as:

   Prior to using domain names for distinguishing among sources of data,
   IP Addresses have been the basis for distinction.  Service operators
   typically have done this by dedicating specific outbound IP Addresses
   to specific mail streams -- typically to specific customers.  For
   example, a university might want to distinguish mail from the
   Administration, versus mail from the student dorms.  In order to make
   adoption of a DKIM-based service easier, it can be reasonable to
   translate the same partitioning of traffic, using domain names in
   place of the different IP Addresses.

2.4.  Recipient-based Assessments

   DKIM gives the recipient site's Identity Assessor a verifiable
   identifier to use for analysis.  Although the mechanism does not make
   claims that the signer is a Good Actor or a Bad Actor, it does make
   it possible to know that use of the identifier is valid.  This is in
   marked contrast with schemes that do not have authentication.
   Without verification, it is not possible to know whether the
   identifier -- whether taken from the RFC5322.From field,
   RFC5321.MailFrom command, or the like -- is being used by an
   authorized agent.  DKIM solves this problem.  Hence with DKIM, the
   Assessor can know that two messages with the same DKIM d= identifier
   are, in fact, signed by the same person or organization.  This
   permits a far more stable and accurate assessment of mail traffic
   using that identifier.

   DKIM is distinctive, in that it provides an identifier which is not
   necessarily related to any other identifier in the message.  Hence,

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 11]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   the signer might be the author's ADMD, one of the operators along the
   transit path, or a reputation service being used by one of those
   handling services.  In fact, a message can have multiple signatures,
   possibly by any number of these actors.

   As discussed above, the choice of identifiers needs to be based on
   differences that the signer thinks will be useful for the recipient
   Assessor.  Over time, industry practices establish norms for these

      Absent such norms, it is best for signers to distinguish among
      streams that have significant differences, while consuming the
      smallest number of identifiers possible.  This will limit the
      burden on recipient Assessors.

   A common view about a DKIM signature is that it carries a degree of
   assurance about some or all of the message contents, and in
   particular that the RFC5322.From field is likely to be valid.  In
   fact, DKIM makes assurances only about the integrity of the data and
   not about its validity.  Still, presumptions of From: field validity
   remain a concern.  Hence a signer using a domain name that is
   unrelated to the domain name in the From: field can reasonably expect
   that the disparity will warrant some curiosity, at least until
   signing by independent operators has produced some established
   practice among recipient Assessors.

   With the identifier(s) supplied by DKIM, the Assessor can consult an
   independent assessment service about the entity associated with the
   identifier(s).  Another possibility is that the Assessor can develop
   its own reputation rating for the identifier(s).  That is, over time,
   the Assessor can observe the stream of messages associated with the
   identifier(s) developing a reaction to associated content.  For
   example, if there is a high percentage of user complaints regarding
   signed mail with a "d=" value of "", the Assessor
   might include that fact in the vector of data it provides to the
   Handling Filter.  This is also discussed briefly in Section 5.4.

2.5.  Filtering

   After assessing the signer of a message, each receiving site creates
   and tunes its own Handling Filter according to criteria specific for
   that site.  Still, there are commonalities across sites, and this
   section offers a discussion, rather than a specification, of some
   types of input to that process and how they can be used.

   The discussion focuses on variations in Organizational Trust versus
   Message Risk, that is, the degree of positive assessment of a DKIM-
   signing organization, and the potential danger present in the message

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 12]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   stream signed by that organization.  While it might seem that higher
   trust automatically means lower risk, the experience with real-world
   operations provides examples of every combination of the two factors,
   as shown in Table 1.  Only three levels of granularity are listed, in
   order to keep discussion manageable.  This also ensures extensive
   flexibility for each site's detailed choices.

   |   | Low                 | Medium             | High               |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   | O |                     |                    |                    |
   | R |                     |                    |                    |
   | G |                     |                    |                    |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   | T |                     |                    |                    |
   | R |                     |                    |                    |
   | U |                     |                    |                    |
   | S |                     |                    |                    |
   | T |                     |                    |                    |
   |   |                     |                    |                    |
   | M |                     |                    |                    |
   | * | Unknown org,        | Registered org,    | Good Org,          |
   | L | Few msgs:           | New Identifier:    | Good msgs:         |
   | o | _Mild filtering_    | _Medium filtering_ | _Avoid FP(!)_      |
   | w |                     |                    |                    |
   | * | Unknown org,        | Registered org,    | Good org, Bad msg  |
   | M | New Identifier:     | Mixed msgs:        | burst:             |
   | e | _Default filtering_ | _Medium filtering_ | _Accept & Contact_ |
   | d |                     |                    |                    |
   | i |                     |                    |                    |
   | u |                     |                    |                    |
   | * | Black-Listed org,   | Registered org,    | Good org,          |
   | H | Bad msgs:           | Bad msgs:          | Compromised:       |
   | i | _Avoid FN(!)_       | _Strong filtering_ | _Fully blocked_    |
   | g |                     |                    |                    |
   | h |                     |                    |                    |

              Table 1: Organizational Trust vs. Message Risk

   The table indicates preferences for different handling of different
   combinations, such as tuning filtering to avoid False Positives (FP)
   or avoiding False Negatives (FN).  Perhaps unexpectedly, it also
   lists a case in which the receiving site might wish to deliver

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 13]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   problematic mail, rather than redirecting it, but also of course
   contacting the signing organization, seeking resolution of the

3.  DKIM Key Generation, Storage, and Management

   By itself, verification of a digital signature only allows the
   verifier to conclude with a very high degree of certainty that the
   signature was created by a party with access to the corresponding
   private signing key.  It follows that a verifier requires means to
   (1) obtain the public key for the purpose of verification and (2)
   infer useful attributes of the key holder.

   In a traditional Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), the functions of
   key distribution and key accreditation are separated.  In DKIM
   [RFC4871], these functions are both performed through the DNS.

   In either case, the ability to infer semantics from a digital
   signature depends on the assumption that the corresponding private
   key is only accessible to a party with a particular set of
   attributes.  In traditional PKI, a Trusted Third Party (TTP) vouches
   that the key holder has been validated with respect to a specified
   set of attributes.  The range of attributes that may be attested in
   such a scheme is thus limited only to the type of attributes that a
   TTP can establish effective processes for validating.  In DKIM,
   Trusted Third parties are not employed and the functions of key
   distribution and accreditation are combined.

   Consequently there are only two types of inference that a signer may
   make from a key published in a DKIM Key Record:

   1.  That a party with the ability to control DNS records within a DNS
       zone intends to claim responsibility for messages signed using
       the corresponding private signature key.

   2.  That use of a specific key is restricted to the particular subset
       of messages identified by the selector.

   The ability to draw any useful conclusion from verification of a
   digital signature relies on the assumption that the corresponding
   private key is only accessible to a party with a particular set of
   attributes.  In the case of DKIM, this means that the party that
   created the corresponding DKIM key record in the specific zone
   intended to claim responsibility for the signed message.

   Ideally we would like to draw a stronger conclusion, that if we
   obtain a DKIM key record from the DNS zone, that the

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 14]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   legitimate holder of the DNS zone claims responsibility
   for the signed message.  In order for this conclusion to be drawn it
   is necessary for the verifier to assume that the operational security
   of the DNS zone and corresponding private key are adequate.

3.1.  Private Key Management: Deployment and Ongoing Operations

   Access to signing keys MUST be carefully managed to prevent use by
   unauthorized parties and to minimize the consequences if a compromise
   were to occur.

   While a DKIM signing key is used to sign messages on behalf of many
   mail users, the signing key itself SHOULD be under direct control of
   as few key holders as possible.  If a key holder were to leave the
   organization, all signing keys held by that key holder SHOULD be
   withdrawn from service and if appropriate, replaced.

   If key management hardware support is available, it SHOULD be used.
   If keys are stored in software, appropriate file control protections
   MUST be employed, and any location in which the private key is stored
   in plaintext form SHOULD be excluded from regular backup processes
   and SHOULD not be accessible through any form of network including
   private local area networks.  Auditing software SHOULD be used
   periodically to verify that the permissions on the private key files
   remain secure.

   Wherever possible a signature key SHOULD exist in exactly one
   location and be erased when no longer used.  Ideally a signature key
   pair SHOULD be generated as close to the signing point as possible
   and only the public key component transferred to another party.  If
   this is not possible, the private key MUST be transported in an
   encrypted format that protects the confidentiality of the signing
   key.  A shared directory on a local file system does not provide
   adequate security for distribution of signing keys in plaintext form.

   Key escrow schemes are not necessary and SHOULD NOT be used.  In the
   unlikely event of a signing key becomming lost, a new signature key
   pair may be generated as easily as recovery from a key escrow scheme.

   To enable accountability and auditing:

   o  Responsibility for the security of a signing key SHOULD ultimately
      vest in a single named individual.

   o  Where multiple parties are authorized to sign messages, each
      signer SHOULD use a different key to enable accountability and

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 15]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   Best practices for management of cryptographic keying material
   require keying material to be refreshed at regular intervals,
   particularly where key management is achieved through software.
   While this practice is highly desirable it is of considerably less
   importance than the requirement to maintain the secrecy of the
   corresponding private key.  An operational practice in which the
   private key is stored in tamper proof hardware and changed once a
   year is considerably more desirable than one in which the signature
   key is changed on an hourly basis but maintained in software.

3.2.  Storing Public Keys: DNS Server Software Considerations

   In order to use DKIM a DNS domain holder requires (1) the ability to
   create the necessary DKIM DNS records and (2) sufficient operational
   security controls to prevent insertion of spurious DNS records by an

   DNS record management is often operated by an administrative staff
   that is different from those who operate an organization's email
   service.  In order to ensure that DKIM DNS records are accurate, this
   imposes a requirement for careful coordination between the two
   operations groups.  If the best practices for private key management
   described above are observed, such deployment is not a one time
   event; DNS DKIM selectors will be changed over time signing keys are
   terminated and replaced.

   At a minimum, a DNS server that handles queries for DKIM key records
   MUST allow the server administrators to add free-form TXT records.
   It would be better if the the DKIM records could be entered using a
   structured form, supporting the DKIM-specific fields.

   Ideally DNSSEC [RFC4034] SHOULD be employed in a configuration that
   provides protection against record insertion attacks and zone
   enumeration.  In the case that NSEC3 [RFC5155] records are employed
   to prevent insertion attack, the OPT-OUT flag MUST be set clear.

3.2.1.  Assignment of Selectors

   Selectors are assigned according to the administrative needs of the
   signing domain, such as for rolling over to a new key or for
   delegating of the right to authenticate a portion of the namespace to
   a trusted third party.  Examples include:

   It is intended that assessments of DKIM identities be based on the

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 16]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   domain name, and not include the selector.  While past practice of a
   signer may permit a verifier to infer additional properties of
   particular messages from the structure DKIM key selector, unannounced
   administrative changes such as a change of signing softeware may
   cause such heuristics to fail at any time.

3.3.  Per User Signing Key Management Issues

   While a signer may establish business rules, such as issue of
   individual signature keys for each end-user, DKIM makes no provision
   for communicating these to other parties.  Out of band distribution
   of such business rules is outside the scope of DKIM.  Consequently
   there is no means by which external parties may make use of such keys
   to attribute messages with any greater granularity than a DNS domain.

   If per-user signing keys are assigned for internal purposes (e.g.
   authenticating messages sent to an MTA for distribution), the
   following issues need to be considered before using such signatures
   as an alternative to traditional edge signing at the outbound MTA:

      External verifiers will be unable to make use of the additional
      signature granularity without access to additional information
      passed out of band with respect to [RFC4871].

      If the number of user keys is large, the efficiency of local
      caching of key records by verifiers will be lower.

      A large number of end users may be less likely to be able to
      manage private key data securely on their personal computer than
      an administrator running an edge MTA.

3.4.  Third Party Signer Key Management and Selector Administration

   A DKIM key record only asserts that the holder of the corresponding
   domain name makes a claim of responsibility for messages signed under
   the corresponding key.  In some applications, such as bulk mail
   delivery, it is desirable to delegate the ability to make a claim of
   responsibility to another party.  In this case the trust relationship
   is established between the domain holder and the verifier but the
   private signature key is held by a third party.

   Signature keys used by a third party signer SHOULD be kept entirely
   separate from those used by the domain holder and other third party
   signers.  To limit potential exposure of the private key, the
   signature key pair SHOULD be generated by the third party signer and
   the public component of the key transmitted to the domain holder,
   rather than have the domain holder generate the key pair and transmit
   the private component to the third party signer.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 17]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   Domain holders SHOULD adopt a least privilege approach and grant
   third party signers the minimum access necessary to perform the
   desired function.  Limiting the access granted to Third Party Signers
   serves to protect the interests of both parties.  The domain holder
   minimizes its security risk and the Trusted Third Party Signer avoids
   unnecessary liability.

   In the most restrictive case a domain holder maintains full control
   over the creation of key records and employs appropriate key record
   restrictions to enforce restrictions on the messages for which the
   third party signer is able to sign.  If such restrictions are
   impractical, the domain holder SHOULD delegate a DNS subzone for
   publishing key records to the third party signer.  The domain holder
   SHOULD not allow a third party signer unrestricted access to its DNS
   service for the purpose of publishing key records.

3.5.  Key Pair / Selector Lifecycle Management

   Deployments SHOULD establish, document and observe processes for
   managing the entire lifecycle of a public key pair.

3.5.1.  Example Key Deployment Process

   When it is determined that a new key pair is required:

   1.  A Key Pair is generated by the signing device.

   2.  A proposed key selector record is generated and transmitted to
       the DNS administration infrasrtructure.

   3.  The DNS administration infrastructure verifies the authenticity
       of the key selector registration request.  If accepted

       1.  A key selector is assigned.

       2.  The corresponding key record published in the DNS.

       3.  Wait for DNS updates to propagate (if necessary).

       4.  Report assigned key selector to signing device.

   4.  Signer verifies correct registration of the key record.

   5.  Signer begins generating signatures using the new key pair.

   6.  Signer terminates any private keys that are no longer required
       due to issue of replacement.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 18]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

3.5.2.  Example Key Termination Process

   When it is determined that a private signature key is no longer

   1.  Signer stops using the private key for signature operations.

   2.  Signer deletes all records of the private key, including in-
       memory copies at the signing device.

   3.  Signer notifies the DNS administration infrasrtructure that the
       signing key is withdrawn from service and that the corresponding
       key records may be withdrawn from service at a specified future

   4.  The DNS administration infrastructure verifies the authenticity
       of the key selector termination request.  If accepted,

       1.  The key selector is scheduled for deletion at a future time
           determined by site policy.

       2.  Wait for deletion time to arrive.

       3.  The signer either publishes a revocation key selector with an
           empty "p=" field, or deletes the key selector record

   5.  As far as the verifier is concerned, there is no functional
       difference between verifying against a key selector with an empty
       "p=" field, and verifying against a missing key selector: both
       result in a failed signature and the signature should be treated
       as if it had not been there.  However, there is a minor semantic
       difference: with the empty "p=" field, the signer is explicitly
       stating that the key has been revoked.  The empty "p=" record
       provides a gravestone for an old selector, making it less likely
       that the selector might be accidently reused with a different
       public key.

4.  Signing

   Creating messages that have one or more DKIM signatures, requires
   support in only two outbound email service components:

   o  A DNS Administrative interface that can create and maintain the
      relevant DNS names -- including names with underscores -- and
      resource records (RR).

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 19]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   o  A trusted module, called the Signing Module, which is within the
      organization's outbound email handling service and which creates
      and adds the DKIM-Signature: header field(s) to the message.

   If the module creates more than one signature, there needs to be the
   appropriate means of telling it which one(s) to use.  If a large
   number of names is used for signing, it will help to have the
   administrative tool support a batch processing mode.

4.1.  DNS Records

   A receiver attempting to verify a DKIM signature obtains the public
   key that is associated with the signature for that message.  The
   DKIM-Signature: header in the message contains the d= tag with the
   basic domain name doing the signing and serving as output to the
   Identity Assessor, and the s= tag with the selector that is added to
   the name, for finding the specific public key.  Hence, the relevant
   <selector>._domainkey.<domain-name> DNS record needs to contain a
   DKIM-related RR that provides the public key information.

   The administrator of the zone containing the relevant domain name
   adds this information.  Initial DKIM DNS information is contained
   within TXT RRs.  DNS administrative software varies considerably in
   its abilities to support DKIM names, such as with underscores, and to
   add new types of DNS information.

4.2.  Signing Module

   The module doing signing can be placed anywhere within an
   organization's trusted Administrative Management Domain (ADMD);
   obvious choices include department-level posting agents, as well as
   outbound boundary MTAs to the open Internet.  However any other
   module, including the author's MUA, is potentially acceptable, as
   long as the signature survives any remaining handling within the
   ADMD.  Hence the choice among the modules depends upon software
   development, administrative overhead, security exposures and transit
   handling tradeoffs.  One perspective that helps to resolve this
   choice is the difference between the increased flexibility, from
   placement at (or close to) the MUA, versus the streamlined
   administration and operation, that is more easily obtained by
   implementing the mechanism "deeper" into the organization's email
   infrastructure, such as at its boundary MTA.

   Note the discussion in Section 2.2, concerning use of the i= tag.

   The signing module uses the appropriate private key to create one or
   more signatures.  The means by which the signing module obtains the
   private key(s) is not specified by DKIM.  Given that DKIM is intended

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 20]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   for use during email transit, rather than for long-term storage, it
   is expected that keys will be changed regularly.  For administrative
   convenience, key information SHOULD NOT be hard-coded into software.

4.3.  Signing Policies and Practices

   Every organization (ADMD) will have its own policies and practices
   for deciding when to sign messages (message stream) and with what
   domain name, selector and key.  Examples of particular message
   streams include all mail sent from the ADMD, versus mail from
   particular types of user accounts, versus mail having particular
   types of content.  Given this variability, and the likelihood that
   signing practices will change over time, it will be useful to have
   these decisions represented through run-time configuration
   information, rather than being hard-coded into the signing software.

   As noted in Section 2.3, the choice of signing name granularity
   requires balancing administrative convenience and utility for
   recipients.  Too much granularity is higher administrative overhead
   and well might attempt to impose more differential analysis on the
   recipient than they wish to support.  In such cases, they are likely
   to use only a super-name -- right-hand substring -- of the signing
   name.  When this occurs, the signer will not know what portion is
   being used; this then moves DKIM back to the non-deterministic world
   of heuristics, rather than the mechanistic world of signer/recipient
   collaboration that DKIM seeks.

5.  Verifying

   A message recipient may verify a DKIM signature to determine if a
   claim of responsibility has been made for the message by a trusted

   Access control requires two components: authentication and
   authorization.  By design, verification of a DKIM signature only
   provides the authentication component of an access control decision
   and MUST be combined with additional sources of information such as
   reputation data to arrive at an access control decision.

5.1.  Intended Scope of Use

   DKIM requires that a message with a signature that is found to be
   invalid is to be treated as if the message had not been signed at

   If a DKIM signature fails to verify, it is entirely possible that the
   message is valid and that either there is a configuration error in

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 21]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   the signer's system (e.g. a missing key record) or that the message
   was inadvertently modified in transit.  It is thus undesirable for
   mail infrastructure to treat messages with invalid signatures less
   favorably than those with no signatures whatsoever.  Contrariwise,
   creation of an invalid signature requires a trivial amount of effort
   on the part of an attacker.  If messages with invalid signatures were
   to be treated preferentially to messages with no signatures
   whatsoever, attackers will simply add invalid signature blocks to
   gain the preferential treatment.  It follows that messages with
   invalid signatures SHOULD be treated no better and no worse than
   those with no signature at all.

5.2.  Signature Scope

   As with any other digital signature scheme, verifiers MUST only
   consider the part of the message that is inside the scope of the
   message as being authenticated by the signature.

   For example, if the l= option is employed to specify a content length
   for the scope of the signature, only the part of the message that is
   within the scope of the content signature would be considered

5.3.  Design Scope of Use

   Public Key cryptography provides an exceptionally high degree of
   assurance, bordering on absolute certainty, that the party that
   created a valid digital signature had access to the private key
   corresponding to the public key indicated in the signature.

   In order to make useful conclusions from the verification of a valid
   digital signature, the verifier is obliged to make assumptions that
   fall far short of absolute certainty.  Consequently, mere validation
   of a DKIM signature does not represent proof positive that a valid
   claim of responsibility was made for it by the indicated party, that
   the message is authentic, or that the message is not abusive.  In

   o  The legitimate private key holder may have lost control of its
      private key.

   o  The legitimate domain holder may have lost control of the DNS
      server for the zone from which the key record was retrieved.

   o  The key record may not have been delivered from the legitimate DNS
      server for the zone from which the key record was retrieved.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 22]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   o  Ownership of the DNS zone may have changed.

   In practice these limitations have little or no impact on the field
   of use for which DKIM is designed but may have a bearing if use is
   made of the DKIM message signature format or key retrieval mechanism
   in other specifications.

   In particular the DKIM key retrieval mechanism is designed for ease
   of use and deployment rather than to provide a high assurance Public
   Key Infrastructure suitable for purposes that require robust non-
   repudiation such as establishing legally binding contracts.
   Developers seeking to extend DKIM beyond its design application
   SHOULD consider replacing or supplementing the DNS key retreival
   mechanism with one that is designed to meet the intended purposes.

5.4.  Inbound Mail Filtering

   DKIM is frequently employed in a mail filtering strategy to avoid
   performing content analysis on email originating from trusted
   sources.  Messages that carry a valid DKIM signature from a trusted
   source may be whitelisted, avoiding the need to perform computation
   and hence energy intensive content analysis to determine the
   disposition of the message.

   Mail sources may be determined to be trusted by means of previously
   observed behavior and/or reference to external reputation or
   accreditation services.  The precise means by which this is
   acomplished is outside the scope of DKIM.

5.4.1.  Non-Verifying Adaptive Spam Filtering Systems

   Adaptive (or learning) spam filtering mechanisms that are not capable
   of verifying DKIM signatures SHOULD at minimum be configured to
   ignore DKIM header data entirely.

5.5.  Messages sent through Mailing Lists and other Intermediaries

   Intermediaries such as mailing lists pose a particular challenge for
   DKIM implementations as the message processing steps performed by the
   intermediary may cause the message content to change in ways that
   prevent the signature passing verification.

   Such intermediaries are strongly encouraged to deploy DKIM signing so
   that a verifiable claim of responsibility remains available to
   parties attempting to verify the modified message.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 23]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

5.6.  Generation, Transmission and Use of Results Headers

   In many deployments it is desirable to separate signature
   verification from the application relying on the verification.  A
   system may choose to relay information indicating the results of its
   message authentication efforts using various means; adding a "results
   header" to the message is one such mechanism.  [RFC5451] For example,
   consider the cases where:

   o  The application relying on DKIM signature verification is not
      capable of performing the verification.

   o  The message may be modified after the signature verification is

   o  The signature key may not be available by the time that the
      message is read.

   In such cases it is important that the communication link between the
   signature verifier and the relying application be sufficiently secure
   to prevent insertion of a message that carries a bogus results

   An intermediary that generates results headers SHOULD ensure that
   relying applications are able to distinguish valid results headers
   issued by the intermediary from those introduced by an attacker.  For
   example, this can be accomplished by signing the results header.  At
   a minimum, results headers on incoming messages SHOULD be removed if
   they purport to have been issued by the intermediary but cannot be
   verified as authentic.

   Further discussion on trusting the results as relayed from a verifier
   to something downstream can be found in [RFC5451]

6.  Taxonomy of Signatures

   A DKIM signature tells the signature verifier that the owner of a
   particular domain name accepts some responsibility for the message.
   It does not, in and of itself, provide any information about the
   trustworthiness or behavior of that identity.  What it does provide
   is a verified identity to which such behavioral information can be
   associated, so that those who collect and use such information can be
   assured that it truly pertains to the identity in question.

   This section lays out a taxonomy of some of the different identities,
   or combinations of identities, that might usefully be represented by
   a DKIM signature.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 24]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

6.1.  Single Domain Signature

   Perhaps the simplest case is when an organization signs its own
   outbound email using its own domain in the SDID ([rfc4871-update]) of
   the signature.  For example, Company A would sign the outbound mail
   from its employees with d=companyA.example.

   In the most straightforward configuration, the addresses in the RFC
   5322 From would also be in the companyA.example domain, but that
   direct correlation is not required.

   A special case of the Single Domain Signature is an Author Signature
   as defined by the Author Domain Signing Practices specification
   ([I-D.ietf-dkim-ssp]).  Author signatures are signatures from an
   author's organization that have an SDID value that matches that of an
   RFC5322 From: address of the signed message.

   Although an author signature might in some cases be proof against
   spoofing the domain name of the RFC 5322 From address, it is
   important to note that the DKIM and ADSP validation apply only to the
   exact address string and not to look-alike addresses nor to the
   human-friendly "display-name" or names and addresses used within the
   body of the message.  That is, it protects only against the misuse of
   a precise address string within the RFC5322 From field and nothing
   else.  For example, a message from bob@domain.example with a valid
   signature where d=d0main.example would fail an ADSP check because the
   signature domain, however similar, is distinct; however a message
   from bob@d0main.example with a valid signature where d=d0main.example
   would pass an ADSP check, even though to a human it might be obvious
   that d0main.example is likely a malicious attempt to spoof the domain
   domain.example.  This example highlights that ADSP, like DKIM, is
   only able to validate a signing identifier: it still requires some
   external process to attach a meaningful reputation to that

6.2.  Parent Domain Signature

   Another approach that might be taken by an organization with multiple
   active subdomains is to apply the same (single) signature to mail
   from all subdomains.  In this case, the signature chosen would
   usually be the signature of a parent domain common to all subdomains.
   For example, mail from marketing.domain.example,
   sales.domain.example, and engineering.domain.example might all use a
   signature with d=domain.example.

   This approach has the virtue of simplicity, but it is important to
   consider the implications of such a choice.  As discussed in
   Section 2.3, if the type of mail sent from the different subdomains

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 25]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   is significantly different or if there is reason to believe that the
   reputation of the subdomains would differ, then it may be a good idea
   to acknowledge this and provide distinct signatures for each of the
   subdomains (d=marketing.domain.example, sales.domain.example, etc.).
   However, if the mail and reputations are likely to be similar, then
   the simpler approach of using a single common parent domain in the
   signature may work well.

   Another approach to distinguishing the streams using a single DKIM
   key would be to leverage the AUID [rfc4871-update] (i= tag) in the
   DKIM signature to differentiate the mail streams.  For example,
   marketing email would be signed with i=marketing.domain.example and

   It's important to remember, however, that under core DKIM semantics
   the AUID is opaque to receivers.  That means that it will only be an
   effective differentiator if there is an out of band agreement about
   the i= semantics.

6.3.  Third Party Signature

   A signature whose domain does not match the domain of the RFC 5322
   From address is sometimes referred to as a third party signature.  In
   certain cases even the parent domain signature described above would
   be considered a third party signature because it would not be an
   exact match for the domain in the From: address.

   Although there is often heated debate about the value of third party
   signatures, it is important to note that the DKIM specification
   attaches no particular significance to the identity in a DKIM
   signature.  The identity specified within the signature is the
   identity that is taking responsibility for the message, and it is
   only the interpretation of a given receiver that gives one identity
   more or less significance than another.  In particular, most
   independent reputation services assign trust based on the specific
   identifier string, not its "role": in general they make no
   distinction between, for example, an author signature and a third
   party signature.

   For some, a signature unrelated to the author domain (the domain in
   the RFC 5322 From address) is less valuable because there is an
   assumption that the presence of an author signature guarantees that
   the use of the address in the From: header is authorized.

   For others, that relevance is tied strictly to the recorded
   behavioral data assigned to the identity in question, i.e. its trust
   assessment or reputation.  The reasoning here is that an identity
   with a good reputation is unlikely to maintain that good reputation

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 26]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   if it is in the habit of vouching for messages that are unwanted or
   abusive; in fact, doing so will rapidly degrade its reputation so
   that future messages will no longer benefit from it.  It is therefore
   low risk to facilitate the delivery of messages that contain a valid
   signature of a domain with a strong positive reputation, independent
   of whether or not that domain is associated with the address in the
   RFC5322 From header field of the message.

   Third party signatures encompass a wide range of identities.  Some of
   the more common are:

   Service Provider:  In cases where email is outsourced to an Email
      Service Provider (ESP), Internet Service Provider (ISP), or other
      type of service provider, that service provider may choose to DKIM
      sign outbound mail with either its own identifier -- relying on
      its own, aggregate reputation -- or with a subdomain of the
      provider that is unique to the message author but still part of
      the provider's aggregate reputation.  Such service providers may
      also encompass delegated business functions such as benefit
      management, although these will more often be treated as trusted
      third party senders (see below).

   Parent Domain.  As discussed above, organizations choosing to apply a
      parent domain signature to mail originating from subdomains may
      have their signatures treated as third party by some verifiers,
      depending on whether or not the "t=s" tag is used to constrain the
      parent signature to apply only to its own specific domain.  The
      default is to consider a parent domain signature valid for its

   Reputation Provider:  Another possible category of third party
      signature would be the identity of a third party reputation
      provider.  Such a signature would indicate to receivers that the
      message was being vouched for by that third party.

6.4.  Using Trusted Third Party Senders

   For most of the cases described so far, there has been an assumption
   that the signing agent was responsible for creating and maintaining
   its own DKIM signing infrastructure, including its own keys, and
   signing with its own identity.

   A different model arises when an organization uses a trusted third
   party sender for certain key business functions, but still wants that
   email to benefit from the organization's own identity and reputation:
   in other words, the mail would come out of the trusted third party's
   mail servers, but the signature applied would be that of the
   controlling organization.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 27]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   This can be done by having the third party generate a key pair that
   is designated uniquely for use by that trusted third party and
   publishing the public key in the controlling organization's DNS
   domain, thus enabling the third party to sign mail using the
   signature of the controlling organization.  For example, if Company A
   outsources its employee benefits to a third party, it can use a
   special keypair that enables the benefits company to sign mail as
   "companyA.example".  Because the keypair is unique to that trusted
   third party, it is easy for Company A to revoke the authorization if
   necessary by simply removing the public key from the companyA.example

   In this scenario, may be a good idea to limit the specific identities
   that can be used by even trusted third parties.  The DKIM g= tag
   enables a key record to specify one particular From: address local
   part that must be specified in the i= tag of the signature: for
   example, "g=benefits" would require a signature header tag of
   "i=benefits@companyA.example".  It is important to note that although
   this distinction will be clear to the verifier it may be invisible to
   the recipient: there is no constraint within the DKIM verification
   process that constrains that specific i= value to correspond to any
   of the other message headers, including the From: header.

   A more reliable way of distinguishing the third party mail stream
   would be to create a dedicated subdomain (e.g.
   benefits.companyA.example) and publish the public key there; the
   signature would then use d=benefits.companyA.example.

6.4.1.  DNS Delegation

   Another possibility for configuring trusted third party access, as
   discussed in section 3.4, is to have Company A use DNS delegation and
   have the designated subdomain managed directly by the trusted third
   party.  In this case, Company A would create a subdomain
   benefits.companya.example, and delegate the DNS management of that
   subdomain to the benefits company so it could maintain its own key
   records.  Should revocation become necessary, Company A could simply
   remove the DNS delegation record.

6.5.  Multiple Signatures

   A simple configuration for DKIM-signed mail is to have a single
   signature on a given message.  This works well for domains that
   manage and send all of their own email from single sources, or for
   cases where multiple email streams exist but each has its own unique
   key pair.  It also represents the case in which only one of the
   participants in an email sequence is able to sign, no matter whether
   it represents the author or one of the operators.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 28]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   The examples thus far have considered the implications of using
   different identities in DKIM signatures, but have used only one such
   identity for any given message.  In some cases, it may make sense to
   have more than one identity claiming responsibility for the same

   There are a number of situations where applying more than one DKIM
   signature to the same message might make sense.  A few examples are:

   Companies with multiple subdomain identities:  A company that has
      multiple subdomains sending distinct categories of mail might
      choose to sign with distinct subdomain identities to enable each
      subdomain to manage its own identity.  However, it might also want
      to provide a common identity that cuts across all of the distinct
      subdomains.  For example, Company A may sign mail for its sales
      department with a signature where d=sales.companya.example, and a
      second signature where d=companya.example

   Service Providers:  A service providers may, as described above,
      choose to sign outbound messages with either its own identity or
      with an identity unique to each of its clients (possibly
      delegated).  However, it may also do both: sign each outbound
      message with its own identity as well as with the identity of each
      individual client.  For example, ESP A might sign mail for its
      client Company B with its service provider signature
      d=espa.example, and a second client-specific signature where d=
      either companyb.example, or companyb.espa.example.  The existence
      of the service provider signature could, for example, help cover a
      new client while it establishes its own reputation, or help a very
      small volume client who might never reach a volume threshold
      sufficient to establish an individual reputation.

   Forwarders  Forwarded mail poses a number of challenges to email
      authentication.  DKIM is relatively robust in the presence of
      forwarders as long as the signature is designed to avoid message
      parts that are likely to be modified, although some forwarders do
      make modifications that can invalidate a DKIM signature.

      However, some forwarders such as mailing lists or "forward article
      to a friend" services, might choose to add their own signatures to
      outbound messages to vouch for them having legitimately originated
      from the designated service.  In this case, the signature would be
      added even in the presence of a preexisting signature, and both
      signatures would be relevant to the verifier.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 29]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

      Any forwarder that modifies messages in ways that will break
      preexisting DKIM signatures SHOULD always sign its forwarded

   Reputation Providers:  Although third party reputation providers
      today use a variety of protocols to communicate their information
      to receivers, it is possible that they, or other organizations
      willing to put their "seal of approval" on an email stream might
      choose to use a DKIM signature to do it.  In nearly all cases,
      this "reputation" signature would be in addition to the author or
      originator signature.

   One important caveat to the use of multiple signatures is that there
   is currently no clear consensus among receivers on how they plan to
   handle them.  The opinions range from ignoring all but one signature
   (and the specification of which of them is verified differs from
   receiver to receiver), to verifying all signatures present and
   applying a weighted blend of the trust assessments for those
   identifiers, to verifying all signatures present and simply using the
   identifier that represents the most positive trust assessment.  It is
   likely that the industry will evolve to accept multiple signatures
   using either the second or third of these, but it may take some time
   before one approach becomes pervasive.

7.  Example Usage Scenarios

   Signatures are created by different types of email actors, based on
   different criteria, such as where the actor operates in the sequence
   from author to recipient, whether they want different messages to be
   evaluated under the same reputation or a different one, and so on.
   This section provides some examples of usage scenarios for DKIM
   deployments; the selection is not intended to be exhaustive, but to
   illustrate a set of key deployment considerations.

7.1.  Author's Organization - Simple

   The simplest DKIM configuration is to have some mail from a given
   organization (Company A) be signed with the same d= value (e.g.
   d=companya.example).  If there is a desire to associate a user
   identity or some other related information, the AUID [rfc4871-update]
   value can become uniqueID@companya.example, or

   In this scenario, Company A need only generate a single signing key
   and publish it under their top level domain (companya.example); the
   signing module would then tailor the AUID value as needed at signing

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 30]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

7.2.  Author's Organization - Differentiated Types of Mail

   A slight variation of the one signature case is where Company A signs
   some of its mail, but it wants to differentiate different categories
   of its outbound mail by using different identifiers.  For example, it
   might choose to distinguish marketing mail, billing or transactional
   mail, and individual corporate email into marketing.companya.example,
   billing.companya.example, and companya.example, where each category
   is assigned a unique subdomain and unique signing keys.

7.3.  Author Signature

   As discussed in Section 6.1, author signatures are a special case of
   signatures from an author's organization where at least one signature
   on the message has a SDID [rfc4871-update] value that matches the
   From: address of the message.

   Signers wishing to publish an Author Domain Signing Practices (ADSP)
   [I-D.ietf-dkim-ssp] record describing their signing practices will
   want to include an author signature on their outbound mail to avoid
   ADSP verification failures.  For example, if the address in the RFC
   5322 From is bob@company.example, the SDID value of the author
   signature would be company.example.

7.4.  Author Domain Signing Practices

7.4.1.  Introduction

   The legacy of the Internet is such that not all messages will be
   signed, so the absence of a signature on a message is not an a priori
   indication of forgery: in fact, during early phases of deployment it
   is very likely that most messages will remain unsigned.

   Some domains may decide to sign all of their outgoing mail, for
   example, to assist in protecting their brand names.  If all of the
   legitimate mail for a brand is signed, recipients can be more
   aggressive in their filtering of mail that uses the brand but is not
   signed by the domain name associated with the brand, because in such
   a configuration, the absence of a signature should be more
   significant than it would be for the general case.  It might be
   desirable for such domains to be able to advertise their intent to
   other hosts: this is the topic of Author Domain Signing Practices

   Note that ADSP is not for everyone.  Sending domains that do not
   control all legitimate outbound mail purporting to be from their
   domain (i.e., with a From address in their domain) are likely to
   experience delivery problems with some percentage of that mail.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 31]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   Administrators evaluating ADSP for their domains SHOULD carefully
   weigh the risk of phishing attacks against the likelihood of
   undelivered mail.

   This section covers some examples of ADSP usage: for the complete
   specification, see [I-D.ietf-dkim-ssp]

7.4.2.  A Few Definitions

   In the ADSP specification, an <addr-spec> in the From header field of
   a message [RFC5322] is defined as an "Author Address", and an "Author
   Domain" is defined as anything to the right of the '@' in an Author

   An "Author Signature" is thus any valid signature where the value of
   the SDID matches an Author Address in the message.

   It is important to note that unlike the DKIM specification which
   makes no correlation between the signature domain and any message
   headers, the ADSP specification applies only to the author domain.
   In essence, under ADSP, any non-author signatures are ignored
   (treated as if they are not present).

7.4.3.  Some ADSP Examples

   An organization (Company A) may specify its signing practices by
   publishing an ADSP record with "dkim=all" or "dkim=discardable".  In
   order to avoid misdelivery of its mail at receivers that are
   validating ADSP, Company A MUST first have done an exhaustive
   analysis to determine all sources of outbound mail from its domain
   (companyA.example) and ensure that they all have valid author
   signatures from that domain.

   For example, email with an RFC 5322 From <addr-spec> of bob@
   companyA.example MUST have an author signature where theSDID value is
   either "companyA.example" or it will fail an ADSP validation.

   Note that once an organization publishes an ADSP record using
   dkim=all or dkim=discardable, any email with a RFC 5322 From address
   that uses the domain where the ADSP record is published that does not
   have a valid author signature is at risk of being mis-delivered or
   discarded.  For example, if a message with an RFC 5322 From <addr-
   spec> of newsletter@companyA.example has a signature with
   d=marketing.companyA.example, that message will fail the ADSP check
   because the signature would not be considered a valid author

   Because the semantics of an ADSP author signature are more

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 32]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   constrained than the semantics of a "pure" DKIM signature, it is
   important to make sure the nuances are well understood before
   deploying an ADSP record.  The ADSP specification [I-D.ietf-dkim-ssp]
   provides some fairly extensive lookup examples (in Appendix A) and
   usage examples (in Appendix B).

   In particular, in order to prevent mail from being negatively
   impacted or even discarded at the receiver, it is essential to
   perform a thorough survey of outbound mail from a domain before
   publishing an ADSP policy of anything stronger than "unknown".  This
   includes mail that might be sent from external sources that may not
   be authorized to use the domain signature, as well as mail that risks
   modification in transit that might invalidate an otherwise valid
   author signature (e.g. mailing lists, courtesy forwarders, and other
   paths that could add or modify headers, or modify the message body).

7.5.  Delegated Signing

   An organization may choose to outsource certain key services to an
   independent company.  For example, Company A might outsource its
   benefits management, or Organization B might outsource its marketing

   If Company A wants to ensure that all of the mail sent on its behalf
   through the benefits providers email servers shares the Company A
   reputation, as discussed in Section 6.4 it can either publish keys
   designated for the use of the benefits provider under
   companyA.example (preferably under a designated subdomain of
   companyA.example), or it can delegate a subdomain (e.g.
   benefits.companyA.example) to the provider and enable the provider to
   generate the keys and manage the DNS for the designated subdomain.

   In both of these cases, mail would be physically going out of the
   benefit provider's mail servers with a signature of e.g.
   d=benefits.companya.example.  Note that the From: address is not
   constrained: it could either be affiliated with the benefits company
   (e.g. benefits-admin@benefitprovider.example, or
   benefits-provider@benefits.companya.example), or with the companyA

   Note that in both of the above scenarios, as discussed in
   Section 3.4, security concerns dictate that the keys be generated by
   the organization that plans to do the signing so that there is no
   need to transfer the private key.  In other words, the benefits
   provider would generate keys for both of the above scenarios.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 33]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

7.6.  Independent Third Party Service Providers

   Another way to manage the service provider configuration would be to
   have the service provider sign the outgoing mail on behalf of its
   client Company A with its own (provider) identifier.  For example, an
   Email Service Provider (ESP A) might want to share its own mailing
   reputation with its clients, and may sign all outgoing mail from its
   clients with its own d= domain (e.g. d=espa.example).

   Should the ESP want to distinguish among its clients, it has two

   o  Share the SDID domain, and use the AUID value to distinguish among
      the clients: e.g. a signature on behalf of client A would have
      d=espa.example and i=clienta.espa.example (or

   o  Extend the SDID domain, so there is a unique value (and subdomain)
      for each client: e.g. a signature on behalf of client A would have

   Note that this scenario and the delegation scenario are not mutually
   exclusive: in some cases, it may be desirable to sign the same
   message with both the ESP and the ESP client identities.

7.7.  Mail Streams Based on Behavioral Assessment

   An ISP (ISP A) might want to assign signatures to outbound mail from
   its users according to each user's past sending behavior
   (reputation).  In other words, the ISP would segment its outbound
   traffic according to its own assessment of message quality, to aid
   recipients in deciding to process these different streams
   differently.  Since the semantics of behavioral assessments aren't
   allowed as AUID values, ISP A (ispa.example) may configure subdomains
   corresponding to the assessment categories (e.g. good.ispa.example,
   neutral.ispa.example, bad.ispa.example), and use these subdomains in
   the d= value of the signature.

   The signing module can also optionally set the AUID value to have a
   unique user id (distinct from the local-part of the user's email
   address), for example user3456@neutral.domain.example.  Using a
   userid that is distinct from a given email alias is useful in
   environments where a single user might register multiple email

   Note that in this case the AUID values are only partially stable.
   They are stable in the sense that a given i= value will always
   represent the same identity, but they are unstable in the sense that

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 34]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   a given user can migrate among the assessment subdomains depending on
   their sending behavior (i.e., the same user might have multiple AUID
   values over the lifetime of a single account).

   In this scenario, ISP A may generate as many keys as there are
   assessment subdomains (SDID values), so that each assessment
   subdomain has its own key.  The signing module would then choose its
   signing key based on the assessment of the user whose mail was being
   signed, and if desired include the user id in the AUID of the
   signature.  As discussed earlier, the per-user granularity of the
   AUID may be ignored by many verifiers, so organizations choosing to
   use it should not rely on its use for receiver side filtering
   results; however, some organizations may also find the information
   useful for thier own purposes in processing bounces or abuse reports.

7.8.  Agent or Mediator Signatures

   Another scenario is that of an agent, usually a re-mailer of some
   kind, that signs on behalf of the service or organization that it
   represents.  Some examples of agents might be a mailing list manager,
   or the "forward article to a friend" service that many online
   publications offer.  In most of these cases, the signature is
   asserting that the message originated with, or was relayed by, the
   service asserting responsibility.  In general, if the service is
   configured in such a way that its forwarding would break existing
   DKIM signatures, it should always add its own signature.

8.  Usage Considerations

8.1.  Non-standard Submission and Delivery Scenarios

   The robustness of DKIM's verification mechanism is based on the fact
   that only authorized signing modules have access to the designated
   private key.  This has the side effect that email submission and
   delivery scenarios that originate or relay messages from outside the
   domain of the authorized signing module will not have access to that
   protected private key, and thus will be unable to attach the expected
   domain signature to those messages.  Such scenarios include mailing
   lists, courtesy forwarders, MTAs at hotels, hotspot networks used by
   travelling users, and other paths that could add or modify headers,
   or modify the message body.

   For example, assume Joe works for Company A and has an email address
   joe@companya.example.  Joe also has a ISP-1 account, and he uses ISP-1's multiple address feature to
   attach his work email joe@companya.example to his ISP-1 account.
   When Joe sends email from his ISP-1 account and uses

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 35]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   joe@companya.example as his designated From: address, that email
   cannot have a signature with d=companya.example because the ISP-1
   servers have no access to Company A's private key.  In ISP-1's case
   it will have a ISP-1 signature, but for some other mail clients
   offering the same multiple address feature there may be no signature
   at all on the message.

   Another example might be the use of a forward article to a friend
   service.  Most instances of these services today allow someone to
   send an article with their email address in the RFC 5322 From to
   their designated recipient.  If Joe used either of his two addresses
   (joe@companya.example or, the forwarder would
   be equally unable to sign with a corresponding domain .  As in the
   mail client case, the forwarder may either sign as its own domain, or
   may put no signature on the message.

   A third example is the use of privately configured forwarding.
   Assume that Joe has another account at ISP-2,,
   but he'd prefer to read his ISP-2 mail from his ISP-1 account.  He
   sets up his ISP-2 account to forward all incoming mail to  Assume alice@companyb.example sends an email.  Depending on how companyb.example
   configured its signature, and depending on whether or not ISP-2
   modifies messages that it forwards, it is possible that when Alice's
   message is received in Joe's ISP-1 account the original signature
   fails verification.

8.2.  Protection of Internal Mail

   One identity is particularly amenable to easy and accurate
   assessment: the organization's own identity.  Members of an
   organization tend to trust messages that purport to be from within
   that organization.  However Internet Mail does not provide a
   straightforward means of determining whether such mail is, in fact,
   from within the organization.  DKIM can be used to remedy this
   exposure.  If the organization signs all of its mail, then its
   boundary MTAs can look for mail purporting to be from the
   organization that does not contain a verifiable signature.

   Such mail can in most cases be presumed to be spurious.  However,
   domain managers are advised to consider the ways that mail processing
   can modify messages in ways that will invalidate an existing DKIM
   signature: mailing lists, courtesy forwarders, and other paths that
   could add or modify headers or modify the message body (e.g.  MTAs at
   hotels, hotspot networks used by travelling users, and other
   scenarios described in the previous section).  Such breakage is
   particularly relevant in the presence of Author Domain Signing

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 36]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

8.3.  Signature Granularity

   Although DKIM's use of domain names is optimized for a scope of
   organization-level signing, it is possible to administer sub-domains
   or otherwise adjust signatures in a way that supports per-user
   identification.  This user level granularity can be specified in two
   ways: either by sharing the signing identity and specifying an
   extension to the i= value that has a per-user granularity, or by
   creating and signing with unique per-user keys.

   A subdomain or local part in the i= tag SHOULD be treated as an
   opaque identifier and thus need not correspond directly to a DNS
   subdomain or be a specific user address.

   The primary way to sign with per-user keys requires each user to have
   a distinct DNS (sub)domain, where each distinct d= value has a key
   published.  (It is possible, although not recommended, to publish the
   same key in more than one distinct domain.)

   It is technically possible to publish per-user keys within a single
   domain or subdomain by utilizing different selector values.  This is
   not recommended and is unlikely to be treated uniquely by Assessors:
   the primary purpose of selectors is to facilitate key management, and
   the DKIM specification recommends against using them in determining
   or assessing identies.

   In most cases, it would be impractical to sign email on a per-user
   granularity.  Such an approach would be

   likely to be ignored:   In most cases today, if receivers are
      verifying DKIM signatures they are in general taking the simplest
      possible approach.  In many cases maintaining reputation
      information at a per user granularity is not interesting to them,
      in large part because the per user volume is too small to be
      useful or interesting.  So even if senders take on the complexity
      necessary to support per user signatures, receivers are unlikely
      to retain anything more than the base domain reputation.

   difficult to manage:   Any scheme that involves maintenance of a
      significant number of public keys may require infrastructure
      enhancements or extensive administrative expertise.  For domains
      of any size, maintaining a valid per-user keypair, knowing when
      keys need to be revoked or added due to user attrition or
      onboarding, and the overhead of having the signing engine
      constantly swapping keys can create significant and often
      unnecessary managment complexity.  It is also important to note
      that there is no way within the scope of the DKIM specification
      for a receiver to infer that a sender intends a per-user

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 37]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009


   As mentioned before, what may make sense, however, is to use the
   infrastructure that enables finer granularity in signatures to
   identify segments smaller than a domain but much larger than a per-
   user segmentation.  For example, a university might want to segment
   student, staff, and faculty mail into three distinct streams with
   differing reputations.  This can be done by creating seperate sub-
   domains for the desired segments, and either specifying the
   subdomains in the i= tag of the DKIM Signature or by adding
   subdomains to the d= tag and assigning and signing with different
   keys for each subdomain.

   For those who choose to represent user level granularity in
   signatures, the performance and management considerations above
   suggest that it would be more effective to do it by specifying a
   local part or subdomain extension in the i= tag rather than by
   extending the d= domain and publishing individual keys.

8.4.  Email Infrastructure Agents

   It is expected that the most common venue for a DKIM implementation
   will be within the infrastructure of an organization's email service,
   such as a department or a boundary MTA.  What follows are some
   general recommendations for the Email Infrastructure.

      Outbound:   An MSA or an Outbound MTA used for mail submission
         SHOULD ensure that the message sent is in compliance with the
         advertised email sending policy.  It SHOULD also be able to
         generate an operator alert if it determines that the email
         messages do not comply with the published DKIM sending policy.

         An MSA SHOULD be aware that some MUAs may add their own
         signatures.  If the MSA needs to perform operations on a
         message to make it comply with its email sending policy, if at
         all possible, it SHOULD do so in a way that would not break
         those signatures.

         MUAs equipped with the ability to sign SHOULD NOT be
         encouraged.  In terms of security, MUAs are generally not under
         the direct control of those in responsible roles within an
         organization and are thus more vulnerable to attack and
         compromise, which would expose private signing keys to
         intruders and thus jeopardize the integrity and reputation of
         the organization.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 38]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

      Inbound:   When an organization deploys DKIM, it needs to make
         sure that its email infrastructure components that do not have
         primary roles in DKIM handling do not modify message in ways
         that prevent subsequent verification.

         An inbound MTA or an MDA may incorporate an indication of the
         verification results into the message, such as using an
         Authentication-Results header field.  [RFC5451]

      Intermediaries:   An email intermediary is both an inbound and
         outbound MTA.  Each of the requirements outlined in the
         sections relating to MTAs apply.  If the intermediary modifies
         a message in a way that breaks the signature, the intermediary

         +  SHOULD deploy abuse filtering measures on the inbound mail,

         +  MAY remove all signatures that will be broken

         In addition the intermediary MAY:

         +  Verify the message signature prior to modification.

         +  Incorporate an indication of the verification results into
            the message, such as using an Authentication-Results header
            field.  [RFC5451]

         +  Sign the modified message including the verification results
            (e.g., the Authentication-Results header field).

8.5.  Mail User Agent

   The DKIM specification is expected to be used primarily between
   Boundary MTAs, or other infrastructure components of the originating
   and receiving ADMDs.  However there is nothing in DKIM that is
   specific to those venues.  In particular, MUAs MAY also support DKIM
   signing and verifying directly.

      Outbound:   An MUA MAY support signing even if mail is to be
         relayed through an outbound MSA.  In this case the signature
         applied by the MUA will be in addition to any signature added
         by the MSA.  However, the warnings in the previous section
         should be taken into consideration.

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 39]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

         Some user software goes beyond simple user functionality and
         also perform MSA and MTA functions.  When this is employed for
         sending directly to a receiving ADMD, the user software SHOULD
         be considered an outbound MTA.

      Inbound:   An MUA MAY rely on a report of a DKIM signature
         verification that took place at some point in the inbound MTA/
         MDA path (e.g., an Authentication-Results header field), or an
         MUA MAY perform DKIM signature verification directly.  A
         verifying MUA SHOULD allow for the case where mail has modified
         in the inbound MTA path; if a signature fails, the message
         SHOULD NOT be treated any different than if it did not have a

         An MUA that looks for an Authentication-Results header field
         MUST be configurable to choose which Authentication-Results are
         considered trustable.  The MUA developer is encouraged to re-
         read the Security Considerations of [RFC5451].

         DKIM requires that all verifiers treat messages with signatures
         that do not verify as if they are unsigned.

         If verification in the client is to be acceptable to users, it
         is essential that successful verification of a signature not
         result in a less than satisfactory user experience compared to
         leaving the message unsigned.  The mere presence of a verified
         DKIM signature MUST NOT by itself be used by an MUA to indicate
         that a message is to be treated better than a message without a
         verified DKIM signature.  However, the fact that a DKIM
         signature was verified MAY be used as input into a reputation
         system (i.e., a whitelist of domains and users) for
         presentation of such indicators.

   It is common for components of an ADMD's email infrastructure to do
   violence to a message, such that a DKIM signature might be rendered
   invalid.  Hence, users of MUAs that support DKIM signing and/or
   verifying need a basis for knowing that their associated email
   infrastructure will not break a signature.

9.  Other Considerations

9.1.  Security Considerations

   The security considerations of the DKIM protocol are described in the
   DKIM base specification [RFC4871].

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 40]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

9.2.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no considerations for IANA.

10.  Acknowledgements


11.  Informative References

              Hansen, T., Crocker, D., and P. Hallam-Baker, "DomainKeys
              Identified Mail (DKIM) Service Overview",
              draft-ietf-dkim-overview-10 (work in progress), July 2008.

              field, h., Domain, A., error, r., Allman, E., Fenton, J.,
              Delany, M., and J. Levine, "DomainKeys Identified Mail
              (DKIM) Author Domain Signing Practices (ADSP)",
              draft-ietf-dkim-ssp-10 (work in progress), May 2009.

              Callas, J., "OpenPGP Message Format",
              draft-ietf-openpgp-rfc2440bis-22 (work in progress),
              April 2007.

   [RFC0989]  Linn, J. and IAB Privacy Task Force, "Privacy enhancement
              for Internet electronic mail: Part I: Message encipherment
              and authentication procedures", RFC 989, February 1987.

   [RFC1034]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities",
              STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

   [RFC1848]  Crocker, S., Galvin, J., Murphy, S., and N. Freed, "MIME
              Object Security Services", RFC 1848, October 1995.

   [RFC1991]  Atkins, D., Stallings, W., and P. Zimmermann, "PGP Message
              Exchange Formats", RFC 1991, August 1996.

   [RFC2440]  Callas, J., Donnerhacke, L., Finney, H., and R. Thayer,
              "OpenPGP Message Format", RFC 2440, November 1998.

   [RFC3156]  Elkins, M., Del Torto, D., Levien, R., and T. Roessler,
              "MIME Security with OpenPGP", RFC 3156, August 2001.

   [RFC3164]  Lonvick, C., "The BSD Syslog Protocol", RFC 3164,

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 41]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

              August 2001.

   [RFC3851]  Ramsdell, B., "Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (S/MIME) Version 3.1 Message Specification",
              RFC 3851, July 2004.

   [RFC4034]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions",
              RFC 4034, March 2005.

   [RFC4686]  Fenton, J., "Analysis of Threats Motivating DomainKeys
              Identified Mail (DKIM)", RFC 4686, September 2006.

   [RFC4870]  Delany, M., "Domain-Based Email Authentication Using
              Public Keys Advertised in the DNS (DomainKeys)", RFC 4870,
              May 2007.

   [RFC4871]  Allman, E., Callas, J., Delany, M., Libbey, M., Fenton,
              J., and M. Thomas, "DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
              Signatures", RFC 4871, May 2007.

   [RFC5155]  Laurie, B., Sisson, G., Arends, R., and D. Blacka, "DNS
              Security (DNSSEC) Hashed Authenticated Denial of
              Existence", RFC 5155, March 2008.

   [RFC5321]  Klensin, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 5321,
              October 2008.

   [RFC5322]  Resnick, P., Ed., "Internet Message Format", RFC 5322,
              October 2008.

   [RFC5451]  Kucherawy, M., "Message Header Field for Indicating
              Message Authentication Status", RFC 5451, April 2009.

              Crocker, D., Ed., "RFC 4871 DomainKeys Identified Mail
              (DKIM) Signatures -- Update",
              I-D draft-ietf-dkim-rfc4871-errata-03, April 2009.

Appendix A.  Migrating from DomainKeys

   As with any migration, the steps required will be determined by who
   is doing the migration and their assessment of

   o  the users of what they are generating, or

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 42]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   o  the providers of what they are consuming.

A.1.  Signers

   A signer that currently signs with DomainKeys (DK) will go through
   various stages as it migrates to using DKIM, not all of which are
   required for all signers.  The real questions that a signer must ask

   1.  how many receivers or what types of receivers are *only* looking
       at the DK signatures and not the DKIM signatures, and

   2.  how much does the signer care about those receivers?

   If no one is looking at the DK signature any more, then it's no
   longer necessary to sign with DK.  Or if all "large players" are
   looking at DKIM in addition to or instead of DK, a signer MAY choose
   to stop signing with DK.

   With respect to signing policies, a reasonable, initial approach is
   to use DKIM signatures in the same way as DomainKeys signatures are
   already being used.  In particular, the same selectors and DNS Key
   Records may be used for both, after verifying that they are
   compatible as discussed below.

   Each secondary step in all of the following scenarios is to be
   prefaced with the gating factor "test, then when comfortable with the
   previous step's results, continue".

   One migration strategy is to:

   o  ensure that the current selector DNS key record is compatible with
      both DK and DKIM

   o  sign messages with both DK and DKIM signatures

   o  when it's decided that DK signatures are no longer necessary, stop
      signing with DK

   Another migration strategy is to:

   o  add a new selector DNS key record only for DKIM signatures

   o  sign messages with both DK (using the old DNS key record) and DKIM
      signatures (using the new DNS key record)

   o  when it's decided that DK signatures are no longer necessary, stop
      signing with DK

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 43]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   o  eventually remove the old DK selector DNS record

   A combined migration strategy is to:

   o  ensure that the current selector DNS key record is compatible with
      both DK and DKIM

   o  start signing messages with both DK and DKIM signatures

   o  add a new selector DNS key record for DKIM signatures

   o  switch the DKIM signatures to use the new selector

   o  when it's decided that DK signatures are no longer necessary, stop
      signing with DK

   o  eventually remove the old DK selector DNS record

   Another migration strategy is to:

   o  add a new selector DNS key record for DKIM signatures

   o  do a flash cut and replace the DK signatures with DKIM signatures

   o  eventually remove the old DK selector DNS record

   Another migration strategy is to:

   o  ensure that the current selector DNS key record is compatible with
      both DK and DKIM

   o  do a flash cut and replace the DK signatures with DKIM signatures

   Note that when you have separate key records for DK and DKIM, you can
   use the same public key for both.

A.1.1.  DNS Selector Key Records

   The first step in some of the above scenarios is ensuring that the
   selector DNS key records are compatible for both DK and DKIM.  The
   format of the DNS key record was intentionally meant to be backwardly
   compatible between the two systems, but not necessarily upwardly
   compatible.  DKIM has enhanced the DK DNS key record format by adding
   several optional parameters, which DK must ignore.  However, there is
   one critical difference between DK and DKIM DNS key records: the
   definitions of the "g" fields:

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 44]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   g= granularity of the key  In both DK and DKIM, this is an optional
      field that is used to constrain which sending address(es) can
      legitimately use this selector.  Unfortunately, the treatment of
      an empty field ("g=;") is different.  DKIM allows wildcards where
      DK does not.  For DK, an empty field is the same as a missing
      value, and is treated as allowing any sending address.  For DKIM,
      an empty field only matches an empty local part.  In DKIM, both a
      missing value and "g=*;" mean to allow any sending address.

      If your DK DNS key record has an empty "g" field in it ("g=;"),
      your best course of action is to modify the record to remove the
      empty field.  In that way, the DK semantics will remain the same,
      and the DKIM semantics will match.

   If your DNS key record does not have an empty "g" field in it
   ("g=;"), it's probable that the record can be left alone.  But your
   best course of action would still be to make sure it has a "v" field.
   When the decision is made to stop supporting DomainKeys and to only
   support DKIM, you MUST verify that the "g" field is compatible with
   DKIM, and it SHOULD have "v=DKIM1;" in it.  It is highly RECOMMENDED
   that if you want to use an empty "g" field in your DKIM selector, you
   also include the "v" field.

A.1.2.  Removing DomainKeys Signatures

   The principal use of DomainKeys is at Boundary MTAs.  Because no
   operational transition is ever instantaneous, it is advisable to
   continue performing DomainKeys signing until it is determined that
   DomainKeys receive-side support is no longer used, or is sufficiently
   reduced.  That is, a signer SHOULD add a DKIM signature to a message
   that also has a DomainKeys signature and keep it there until you
   decide it is deemed no longer useful.  The signer may do its
   transitions in a straightforward manner, or more gradually.  Note
   that because digital signatures are not free, there is a cost to
   performing both signing algorithms, so signing with both algorithms
   should not be needlessly prolonged.

   The tricky part is deciding when DK signatures are no longer
   necessary.  The real questions are: how many DomainKeys verifiers are
   there that do *not* also do DKIM verification, which of those are
   important, and how can you track their usage?  Most of the early
   adopters of DK verification have added DKIM verification, but not all
   yet.  If a verifier finds a message with both DK and DKIM, it may
   choose to verify both signatures, or just one or the other.

   Many DNS services offer tracking statistics so it can be determined
   how often a DNS record has been accessed.  By using separate DNS
   selector key records for your signatures, you can chart the usage of

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 45]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   your records over time, and watch the trends.  An additional
   distinguishing factor to track would take into account the verifiers
   that verify both the DK and DKIM signatures, and discount those from
   counts of DK selector usage.  When the number for DK selector access
   reaches a low-enough level, that's the time to consider discontinuing
   signing with DK.

   Note, this level of rigor is not required.  It is perfectly
   reasonable for a DK signer to decide to follow the "flash cut"
   scenario described above.

A.2.  Verifiers

   As a verifier, several issues must be considered:

A.2.1.  Should DK signature verification be performed?

   At the time of writing, there is still a significant number of sites
   that are only producing DK signatures.  Over time, it is expected
   that this number will go to zero, but it may take several years.  So
   it would be prudent for the foreseeable future for a verifier to look
   for and verify both DKIM and DK signatures.

A.2.2.  Should both DK and DKIM signatures be evaluated on a single

   For a period of time, there will be sites that sign with both DK and
   DKIM.  A verifier receiving a message that has both types of
   signatures may verify both signatures, or just one.  One disadvantage
   of verifying both signatures is that signers will have a more
   difficult time deciding how many verifiers are still using their DK
   selectors.  One transition strategy is to verify the DKIM signature,
   then only verify the DK signature if the DKIM verification fails.

A.2.3.  DNS Selector Key Records

   The format of the DNS key record was intentionally meant to be
   backwardly compatible between DK and DKIM, but not necessarily
   upwardly compatible.  DKIM has enhanced the DK DNS key record format
   by adding several optional parameters, which DK must ignore.
   However, there is one key difference between DK and DKIM DNS key
   records: the definitions of the g fields:

   g= granularity of the key  In both DK and DKIM, this is an optional
      field that is used to constrain which sending address(es) can
      legitimately use this selector.  Unfortunately, the treatment of
      an empty field ("g=;") is different.  For DK, an empty field is
      the same as a missing value, and is treated as allowing any

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 46]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

      sending address.  For DKIM, an empty field only matches an empty
      local part.

   v= version of the selector  It is recommended that a DKIM selector
      have "v=DKIM1;" at its beginning, but it is not required.

   If a DKIM verifier finds a selector record that has an empty "g"
   field ("g=;") and it does not have a "v" field ("v=DKIM1;") at its
   beginning, it is faced with deciding if this record was

   1.  from a DK signer that transitioned to supporting DKIM but forgot
       to remove the "g" field (so that it could be used by both DK and
       DKIM verifiers), or

   2.  from a DKIM signer that truly meant to use the empty "g" field
       but forgot to put in the "v" field.  It is RECOMMENDED that you
       treat such records using the first interpretation, and treat such
       records as if the signer did not have a "g" field in the record.

Appendix B.  General Coding Criteria for Cryptographic Applications

   NOTE: This section could possibly be changed into a reference to
   something else, such as another rfc.

   Correct implementation of a cryptographic algorithm is a necessary
   but not a sufficient condition for the coding of cryptographic
   applications.  Coding of cryptographic libraries requires close
   attention to security considerations that are unique to cryptographic

   In addition to the usual security coding considerations, such as
   avoiding buffer or integer overflow and underflow, implementers
   should pay close attention to management of cryptographic private
   keys and session keys, ensuring that these are correctly initialized
   and disposed of.

   Operating system mechanisms that permit the confidentiality of
   private keys to be protected against other processes should be used
   when available.  In particular, great care must be taken when
   releasing memory pages to the operating system to ensure that private
   key information is not disclosed to other processes.

   Certain implementations of public key algorithms such as RSA may be
   vulnerable to a timing analysis attack.

   Support for cryptographic hardware providing key management
   capabilities is strongly encouraged.  In addition to offering

Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 47]

Internet-Draft   DKIM Development/Deployment/Operations        June 2009

   performance benefits, many cryptographic hardware devices provide
   robust and verifiable management of private keys.

   Fortunately appropriately designed and coded cryptographic libraries
   are available for most operating system platforms under license terms
   compatible with commercial, open source and free software license
   terms.  Use of standard cryptographic libraries is strongly
   encouraged.  These have been extensively tested, reduce development
   time and support a wide range of cryptographic hardware.

Authors' Addresses

   Tony Hansen
   AT&T Laboratories
   200 Laurel Ave. South
   Middletown, NJ  07748


   Ellen Siegel
   Constant Contact, Inc.
   1601 Trapelo Rd, Ste 329
   Waltham, MA  02451


   Phillip Hallam-Baker
   VeriSign Inc.


   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking
   675 Spruce Dr.
   Sunnyvale, CA  94086


Hansen, et al.          Expires December 5, 2009               [Page 48]