Add more complexity to your Emails - use DKIM and SPFAdministration

Add more complexity to your Emails - use DKIM and SPF

October 27, 2012

The next thing my paranoid me couldn't stand of is that my emails can be easily spoofed. Yeah, I know I'm not a very famous person, so probability of such thing happening is similar to zero, but hey - tell this to my Paranoid me. :) I also sign every mail I could (they can be easily verified using my public key), but still - DKIM seems to be a fine solution. And besides, I love to play with new things. So after many experiments with dkim-milter, DKIMProxy and opendkim I finally decided to use the last one. Mostly because it's easiest to configure and is still maintained.

Installing and configuring opendkim

You will be suprised how simple it is. :) Firstly you need to install a proper debian packages:

apt-get install opendkim libmail-dkim-perl

The second one is a dkim support for spamassassin. I'll cover that later. Next, you need to edit your /etc/opendkim.conf file:


SysLog             yes
Umask              002

KeyTable           /etc/mail/dkim/KeyTable
SigningTable       /etc/mail/dkim/SigningTable
ExternalIgnoreList /etc/mail/dkim/TrustedHosts
InternalHosts      /etc/mail/dkim/TrustedHosts

Canonicalization   relaxed/simple
Mode               sv
X-Header           yes

Mode sv directive tells opendkim to sign but also verify messages, while X-Header adds X-Dkim header (which contains information about the DKIM daemon you are using). Next we need to tell opendkim which port it will be using, so in /etc/default/opendkim uncomment:


SOCKET="inet:12345@localhost" # listen on loopback on port 12345

Now we have to populate those extra files we defined. TrustedHosts is the easiest one, it's just the list of hosts and domains which are allowed to use DKIM. So in most cases:


localhost # external IP

Next, we need to create a key and DNS TXT record pair for each domain we want to be signed. I suggest to use strong key (-b parameter), to avoid some company's failure To do this:

mkdir -p /etc/mail/dkim/keys/
cd /etc/mail/dkim/keys/
opendkim-genkey -r -b 2048 -d -s mail
chown opendkim:opendkim mail.private
chmod 600 mail.private

This will create two files: mail.private - which contains a private RSA key, and mail.txt which contains a contents for DNS TXT record. So let's make use of them! First keys - they need to be fined in KeyTable and SingingTable files.



The last thing we need to do is to add a DNS TXT record for domain containing contents provided by opendkim-genkey. For example for it looks like this: descriptive text "v=DKIM1\; g=*\; k=rsa\; p=MIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAAOCAQ8AMIIBCgKCAQEAsfIThdXoizR6sop0gifPwPkT45I/KnTTNKDS4BHWtoU6as62c/3BRQuKqDAIacheZzWbfEPq/M2YvoNrVhx1laltg7aeUhZlcVOtz415lIy8M8oUVTCDxewBKsTEQD5M4Roaadoj7vzpA1JMcOEv36TizFq/KB5GL46pVNyOMJ+Mg" "97F+EQQeiOFsn/T+tNuxWky3l4Qky3S8U34wYmRSr+sVLu4U31QtocwL4uJ7ofVNdVk0baYo7s1HYnM3CGEKK+zdHTR/AoNiquvVX1lLX9s85bade4cNuRaINjzDyM4fAglLgSHZEtRcRlYqdMEpQcplI1OaSxIFS4DpFL3RwIDAQAB"

And that settles DKIM. All we have left is starting it:

/etc/init.d/opendkim start

Connecting opendkim to postfix

This is really simple part.


milter_default_action = accept
milter_protocol = 6
smtpd_milters = inet:localhost:12345
non_smtpd_milters = inet:localhost:12345

then. reload it and you are set.

Installing SPF

Ok, now THAT is simple. Just install package:

apt-get install postfix-policyd-spf-python

and add service:


policy-spf  unix  -  n  n  -  -  spawn user=nobody argv=/usr/bin/policyd-spf

Add spf timeout to /etc/postfix/ and adjust smtpd_recipient_restrictions to include check_policy_service unix:private/policy-spf, so in my file it looks like this:


smtpd_recipient_restrictions = reject_unauth_pipelining,
                               check_policy_service unix:private/policy-spf
spf-policyd_time_limit = 3600s

Last but not least is updating a DNS record. This is simple and similar to DKIM - just ad TXT record to your TLD containing v=spf1 a mx ip4:<your ip>, for example my looks like this: descriptive text "v=spf1 a mx ip4:"

Don't forget to restart your Postfix when you're done!


To test if everything works fine, just send yourself an email and check it headers. You should see something like:

X-Dkim: OpenDKIM Filter v2.0.1 0224020B8
Dkim-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/simple;; s=mail; t=1351357546; bh=Rskt6Q/nZKmxgXkWUYP6cCBSDJhtkVT0PSrUEVGVgp4=; h=From:Content-Type:Content-Transfer-Encoding:Subject:Message-Id: Date:To:Mime-Version; b=phPQdG6HYaders4Xv0TsK2mT+PFYVk/brOFpnmCjCZtvbeGJ+XwrNk4Tnc9xGELtAglLOVplSvMV9nTK6xonta1qLTtnLYPsY4o/WPfyZYDgHmp6X9ZYP4otAHYK3jC00PbKGNqhXeD3bCc7CBV/aVGMQX4Bt0TjAAgndeYCI9VnvR2zH0iTEjlAT2OXrh2JV+wrK5UOXae8gRPT28F2Mg325YOiDwD1T5bgFtfc9mh2s/NRcy7lyDiPcb3CNV+nMXKyq/47o22LlALv5g5+OBBZACQYpYtgalM54InQDPoL/udvKtI/YYaiByFLwqeYFh2LXX6et 9dAiNCRLL+EoA==

Which means that singing is alive and kicking. To test verification, just send yourself an email from DKIM-using provider (like Yahoo or Gmail) and check for following header:

Authentication-Results:; dkim=pass (2048-bit key; insecure key); dkim-adsp=pass

Which means, that verfication is working. As the last final test, send email to `autorespond+dkim@dk.elandsys.comz. This is automated service, which checks your DKIM headers for you and sends back the results. If you get DKIM Signature validation: passz in the body, then it means, that everything is working properly.

Final polishing

By default spamassassin has DKIM filters enabled. To ensure, look for loadplugin Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::DKIM in your /etc/spamassassin/v312.pre file. When it's enabled you should see values like DKIM_VALID or T_DKIM_INVALID in X-Spam-Status header. Normally, spamassassin puts a very little weight to that rules, but you can easily increase it by adding:



You can also add sieve filter based on Authentication-Results if you want to treat those suspicious messages differently than normal spam:


if header :contains "Authentication-Results" "dkim=fail" { fileinto "DANGER"; stop; }

The possibilities are endless :)