When discussing DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, there are several key terms that you might come across. Let’s break these down into simple, everyday language.

Authenticated Identifiers

These are like the ID cards for domains (like ‘example.com’). They are checked and validated using certain technologies to make sure they are genuine.

Author Domain

This is the domain name of the person or organization that appears to have sent the email. It’s taken from the ‘From’ field in the email.

Domain Owner

This is the person, entity, or organization that owns a domain name. This could range from large, global organizations to individuals who maintain personal domains. Sometimes, this term can also refer to delegates, such as those who receive reports, if they are outside of their immediate management domain.

Identifier Alignment

This is like a match between the domain in the ‘From’ address and a domain that has been checked and validated by SPF or DKIM (or both). It’s like checking that the name on a letter matches the name on the ID card.

Mail Receiver

This is the entity or organization that receives and processes email. They operate one or more internet-facing Mail Transport Agents (MTAs), which are like post offices for email.

Organizational Domain

This is the domain that was registered with a domain name registrar. It’s like the official name of a company registered with the government. Sometimes, figuring out this name can be tricky, as it’s not always just the top-level domain (like ‘.com’) plus one component.

Report Receiver

This is the operator that receives reports from another operator implementing the reporting mechanism described in DMARC. They might be receiving reports about their own messages, or reports about messages related to another operator. This term applies to both the system components that receive and process these reports and the organizations that operate them.

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