Setting Up A New Email Domain – With SenderID and DK/DKIM TXT Records

If you are going to begin using e-mail on a sub-domain of an existing zone, you do not need to do anything special to register the sub-domain. If this is a new domain, it needs to be publicly registered first. The examples used here-in will be a mail domain subordinate to windstream.com. If you are performing the tasks for a new zone, create the new zone first.

To allow e-mail exchange with a domain, create MX record(s). For a third party vendor, they need to tell you what their mail exchangers are. For internally hosted services, use the same assignments and weights from Windstream.com. As of 19 July 2017, those are:

windstream.com  MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = dell903.windstream.com

windstream.com  MX preference = 20, mail exchanger = vml905.windstream.com

windstream.com  MX preference = 110, mail exchanger = neohtwnlx821.windstream.com

Within Infoblox, you need to be using the external DNS view. You can create matching records internally – we tend not to create internal MX records as it prevents internal multi-mailer infections from routing messages. In the proper zone, click Add => Record => MX Record

The mail destination will be the subzone (here we are exchanging e-mail with @ljrtest.windstream.com)

Save this change and create the other MX records. ** You need to clue the servers into the fact this domain is now valid. ** On each server, edit /etc/mail/access and add

Ljrtest.windstream.com  RELAY

If you want to use the virtusertable to map addresses within the domain, you also need to add the domain name to /etc/mail/virtuser-domain

Finally, you need to send the mail somewhere. Edit /etc/mail/mailertable and set a relay destination of somewhere that knows about the domain and is processing mail for it (is that our Exchange server? Someone else’s Unix server? An acquired company’s mail server? … depends on what you are trying to do!)

rushworth.us    relay:[10.5.5.85]

Save, make, and restart sendmail … now you have a fully functional external email domain.

Now secure it – that means adding sender policy framework (SPF), domain key (DK), and domain key identified mail (DKIM) records.

SPF and SenderID Records

There are both sender policy framework (v1) and SenderID (v2) records – you can create both. Not too many people use SenderID anymore, but I invariably end up finding the one guy who is evaluating mail validity purely on SenderID when I create just the SPFv1 record.

In InfoBlox, select Add => Record => TXT record. The mail destination from the MX record needs to be put in the “Name” field. Then the text value – what is that?

Quick answer is it depends. A SPF record lists all mail servers that should be sending e-mail for a domain. Is that just our MX servers? The MX servers plus the netblocks for the internal relays? Some third-party vendor?

Our MX servers and a few netblocks would be:

SPF V1: “v=spf1 mx ip4:166.150.191.128/26 ip4:98.17.202.0/23 ip4:173.186.244.0/23 ip4:65.114.230.67/32 ip4:64.196.161.5/32 ?all”

SPF V2: “spf2.0/pra mx ip4:166.150.191.128/26 ip4:98.17.202.0/23 ip4:173.186.244.0/23 ip4:65.114.230.67/32 ip4:64.196.161.5/32 ?all”

If there is a third-party vendor, they may provide an include statement for our SPF record – this is a way of referencing an external company’s SPF record within your own. You’ll see “include:mktomail.com” in our SPF records where Marketo sends mail on our behalf.

The final bit – we use ?all which means these may not be all of the servers sending mail on our behalf – we are not making an assertion beyond saying the listed sources are good. You may see vendors requesting “~all” which is a soft fail — still allows mail to pass if the sender does not match the list. The strictest is “-all” which fails mail coming from any source not in the list.

Does it matter? Depends – if a recipient has configured their mail servers to reject mail based on SPF and you use -all … mail from servers not on the list will be rejected. Not a lot of companies are thusly configured, though … so there’s not a whole lot of effective difference.

The final step is to test the SPF record. The easiest way to do so is an online SPF test site like http://tools.bevhost.com/spf/

I usually test both a host on the list and one not. The ones on the list will pass. The ones not on the list may fail (with -all) or report as neutral (?all).

DK/DKIM Records

DK and DKIM are public/private key based header signatures that assure the validity of the e-mail sender. The first thing you will need is a public/private key pair – these do not have to be trusted keys from a public certificate authority. A vendor or another internal group may provide their own public key for inclusion in our DNS record. Do not provide our private key to anyone else – keys are free, and if they are unable to generate one of their own, make one for them!

You can use openssl (openssl genrsa -out dkimkey.private 1024 followed by openssl rsa -in dkimkey.private -out dkimkey.public -pubout -outform PEM), an online generator, or the Web CA server. Once you have a key pair, you need a selector. This is because different mail servers may send mail for a domain whilst using unique private keys to sign the messages. The selector can be anything – the selector name is configured in the mail server. It is visible in the mail headers and mail logs, so don’t elect to use anything rude. Stash the private key on your mail server (or provide it to the mail server owner) and put the public key in a DNS TXT record “selectorname._domainkey.sub.domain.gTLD”. The k= indicates the key type (rsa in the openssl example), you can indicate signatures are being tested “t=y” if desired, and then paste the bits between —-BEGIN PUBLIC KEY—- and —-END PUBLIC KEY—- into the p= part.

k=rsa; p=MIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAAOCAQ8AMIIBCgKCAQEA0s07391Axpsi/G0PTsO1 io1LOXSZ0bWAku4bgJ//swZj8OlFvDo59n9qC2Wsd21afI3si/PdDoDP69HNdgAT tIPaK6J0UqcCo9RNSiM3uA+GngdgTupwE2KrKn9/WQbC0tDA8e64e0HBHXwcF/ru OF+18LvpoA/cu1TFUNk0z+GSvqQ4L79k+gZWALvJL7kvCMIu3Gy8ZJpNerRSdrYH l/Nvg87dlZ+9yRI33IwNYpVl1UIrd6qLnGgM1xDMF+Sn21Obd06FOkV5ObXqKBPv 7gMhsUOPu8cIWK7wrd143wH5sWWX1VCBhhIEv1GFp6+SotvZayH5fQ/ri+BjWYzf PwIDAQAB

You should have an author domain signing practices record (_adsp._domainkey.sub.domain.gTLD) – this tells recipients what to do if a message is not signed. The content is “dkim=all” when all mail from the domain is signed. If all mail is signed and anything not signed should be dumped, then the content is “dkim=discardable”. This does not ensure that unsigned messages are discarded – that decision is up to the individual mail recipient configurations. To make no assertion, use “dkim=unknown”.

You should also have a _domainkey.sub.domain.gTLD record – you can include “t=y” when you are testing – this instructs recipients to treat signed and unsigned mail no differently. You can include notes (n=), a responsible party for the domain (r=). The important one is o= … “o=-“ means all mail from the domain should be signed, “o=~” means some mail from the domain may be unsigned.

Then test the records – you can send a message to autorespond+dkim@dk.elandsys.com and receive back a very detailed report on the DKIM validation, or you can use a web-based validation tool that checks only the DNS components.

Share this...
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *