Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) M. Kucherawy Request for Comments: 7601 August 2015 Obsoletes: 7001, 7410 Category: Standards Track ISSN: 2070-1721 Message Header Field for Indicating Message Authentication Status
AbstractThis document specifies a message header field called Authentication- Results for use with electronic mail messages to indicate the results of message authentication efforts. Any receiver-side software, such as mail filters or Mail User Agents (MUAs), can use this header field to relay that information in a convenient and meaningful way to users or to make sorting and filtering decisions. Status of This Memo This is an Internet Standards Track document. This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741. Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7601. Copyright Notice Copyright (c) 2015 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 (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) 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. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.
Table of Contents1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.1. Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.2. Trust Boundary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.3. Processing Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.4. Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.5. Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.5.1. Key Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.5.2. Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1.5.3. Email Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1.5.4. Other Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.6. Trust Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2. Definition and Format of the Header Field . . . . . . . . . . 9 2.1. General Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 2.2. Formal Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2.3. Property Types (ptypes) and Properties . . . . . . . . . 12 2.4. The "policy" ptype . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 2.5. Authentication Identifier Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 2.6. Version Tokens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 2.7. Defined Methods and Result Values . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 2.7.1. DKIM and DomainKeys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2.7.2. SPF and Sender ID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 2.7.3. "iprev" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 2.7.4. SMTP AUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 2.7.5. Other Registered Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.7.6. Extension Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.7.7. Extension Result Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 3. The "iprev" Authentication Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 4. Adding the Header Field to a Message . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 4.1. Header Field Position and Interpretation . . . . . . . . 25 4.2. Local Policy Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 5. Removing Existing Header Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 6. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 6.1. The Authentication-Results Header Field . . . . . . . . . 27 6.2. "Email Authentication Methods" Registry Description . . . 28 6.3. "Email Authentication Methods" Registry Update . . . . . 29 6.4. "Email Authentication Property Types" Registry . . . . . 30 6.5. "Email Authentication Result Names" Description . . . . . 31 6.6. "Email Authentication Result Names" Update . . . . . . . 32 6.7. SMTP Enhanced Status Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 7. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 7.1. Forged Header Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 7.2. Misleading Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 7.3. Header Field Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 7.4. Reverse IP Query Denial-of-Service Attacks . . . . . . . 35 7.5. Mitigation of Backscatter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 7.6. Internal MTA Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
7.7. Attacks against Authentication Methods . . . . . . . . . 36 7.8. Intentionally Malformed Header Fields . . . . . . . . . . 36 7.9. Compromised Internal Hosts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 7.10. Encapsulated Instances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 7.11. Reverse Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 8. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 8.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 8.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Appendix A. Legacy MUAs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Appendix B. Authentication-Results Examples . . . . . . . . . . 42 B.1. Trivial Case; Header Field Not Present . . . . . . . . . 42 B.2. Nearly Trivial Case; Service Provided, but No Authentication Done . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 B.3. Service Provided, Authentication Done . . . . . . . . . . 44 B.4. Service Provided, Several Authentications Done, Single MTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 B.5. Service Provided, Several Authentications Done, Different MTAs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 B.6. Service Provided, Multi-tiered Authentication Done . . . 48 B.7. Comment-Heavy Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Appendix C. Operational Considerations about Message Authentication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Appendix D. Changes since RFC 7001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
1. IntroductionThis document describes a header field called Authentication-Results for electronic mail messages that presents the results of a message authentication effort in a machine-readable format. The intent of the header field is to create a place to collect such data when message authentication mechanisms are in use so that a Mail User Agent (MUA) and downstream filters can make filtering decisions and/ or provide a recommendation to the user as to the validity of the message's origin and possibly the safety and integrity of its content. This document revises the original definition found in [RFC5451] based upon various authentication protocols in current use and incorporates errata logged since the publication of the original specification. End users are not expected to be direct consumers of this header field. This header field is intended for consumption by programs that will then use such data or render it in a human-usable form.
This document specifies the format of this header field and discusses the implications of its presence or absence. However, it does not discuss how the data contained in the header field ought to be used, such as what filtering decisions are appropriate or how an MUA might render those results, as these are local policy and/or user interface design questions that are not appropriate for this document. At the time of publication of this document, the following are published email authentication methods: o Author Domain Signing Practices ([ADSP]) (Historic) o SMTP Service Extension for Authentication ([AUTH]) o DomainKeys Identified Mail Signatures ([DKIM]) o Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance ([DMARC]) o Sender Policy Framework ([SPF]) o reverse IP address name validation ("iprev", defined in Section 3) o Require-Recipient-Valid-Since Header Field and SMTP Service Extension ([RRVS]) o S/MIME Signature Verification ([SMIME-REG]) o Vouch By Reference ([VBR]) o DomainKeys ([DOMAINKEYS]) (Historic) o Sender ID ([SENDERID]) (Experimental) There exist registries for tokens used within this header field that refer to the specifications listed above. Section 6 describes the registries and their contents and specifies the process by which entries are added or updated. It also updates the existing contents to match the current states of these specifications. This specification is not intended to be restricted to domain-based authentication schemes, but the existing schemes in that family have proven to be a good starting point for implementations. The goal is to give current and future authentication schemes a common framework within which to deliver their results to downstream agents and discourage the creation of unique header fields for each.
Although SPF defined a header field called "Received-SPF" and the historic DomainKeys defined one called "DomainKey-Status" for this purpose, those header fields are specific to the conveyance of their respective results only and thus are insufficient to satisfy the requirements enumerated below. In addition, many SPF implementations have adopted the header field specified here at least as an option, and DomainKeys has been obsoleted by DKIM.
1.1. PurposeThe header field defined in this document is expected to serve several purposes: 1. Convey the results of various message authentication checks, which are applied by upstream filters and Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs) and then passed to MUAs and downstream filters within the same "trust domain". Such agents might wish to render those results to end users or to use those data to apply more or less stringent content checks based on authentication results; 2. Provide a common location within a message for this data; 3. Create an extensible framework for reporting new authentication methods as they emerge. In particular, the mere presence of this header field does not mean its contents are valid. Rather, the header field is reporting assertions made by one or more authentication schemes (supposedly) applied somewhere upstream. For an MUA or downstream filter to treat the assertions as actually valid, there must be an assessment of the trust relationship among such agents, the validating MTA, and the mechanism for conveying the information.
1.2. Trust BoundaryThis document makes several references to the "trust boundary" of an administrative management domain (ADMD). Given the diversity among existing mail environments, a precise definition of this term isn't possible. Simply put, a transfer from the producer of the header field to the consumer must occur within a context that permits the consumer to treat assertions by the producer as being reliable and accurate (trustworthy). How this trust is obtained is outside the scope of this document. It is entirely a local matter.
Thus, this document defines a "trust boundary" as the delineation between "external" and "internal" entities. Services that are internal -- within the trust boundary -- are provided by the ADMD's infrastructure for its users. Those that are external are outside of the authority of the ADMD. By this definition, hosts that are within a trust boundary are subject to the ADMD's authority and policies, independent of their physical placement or their physical operation. For example, a host within a trust boundary might actually be operated by a remote service provider and reside physically within its data center. It is possible for a message to be evaluated inside a trust boundary but then depart and re-enter the trust boundary. An example might be a forwarded message such as a message/rfc822 attachment (see Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions [MIME]) or one that is part of a multipart/digest. The details reported by this field cannot be trusted in that case. Thus, this field found within one of those media types is typically ignored.
1.3. Processing ScopeThe content of this header field is meant to convey to message consumers that authentication work on the message was already done within its trust boundary, and those results are being presented. It is not intended to provide message parameters to consumers so that they can perform authentication protocols on their own.
1.4. RequirementsThis document establishes no new requirements on existing protocols or servers. In particular, this document establishes no requirement on MTAs to reject or filter arriving messages that do not pass authentication checks. The data conveyed by the specified header field's contents are for the information of MUAs and filters and are to be used at their discretion.
1.5. DefinitionsThis section defines various terms used throughout this document.
1.5.1. Key WordsThe key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [KEYWORDS].
1.5.2. Security"Guidelines for Writing RFC Text on Security Considerations" ([SECURITY]) discusses authentication and authorization and the conflation of the two concepts. The use of those terms within the context of recent message security work has given rise to slightly different definitions, and this document reflects those current usages, as follows: o "Authorization" is the establishment of permission to use a resource or represent an identity. In this context, authorization indicates that a message from a particular ADMD arrived via a route the ADMD has explicitly approved. o "Authentication" is the assertion of validity of a piece of data about a message (such as the sender's identity) or the message in its entirety. As examples: SPF and Sender ID are authorization mechanisms in that they express a result that shows whether or not the ADMD that apparently sent the message has explicitly authorized the connecting Simple Mail Transfer Protocol ([SMTP]) client to relay messages on its behalf, but they do not actually validate any other property of the message itself. By contrast, DKIM is agnostic as to the routing of a message but uses cryptographic signatures to authenticate agents, assign (some) responsibility for the message (which implies authorization), and ensure that the listed portions of the message were not modified in transit. Since the signatures are not tied to SMTP connections, they can be added by either the ADMD of origin, intermediate ADMDs (such as a mailing list server), other handling agents, or any combination. Rather than create a separate header field for each class of solution, this proposal groups them both into a single header field.
1.5.3. Email Architectureo A "border MTA" is an MTA that acts as a gateway between the general Internet and the users within an organizational boundary. (See also Section 1.2.) o A "delivery MTA" (or Mail Delivery Agent or MDA) is an MTA that actually enacts delivery of a message to a user's inbox or other final delivery. o An "intermediate MTA" is any MTA that is not a delivery MTA and is also not the first MTA to handle the message.
The following diagram illustrates the flow of mail among these defined components. See Internet Mail Architecture [EMAIL-ARCH] for further discussion on general email system architecture, which includes detailed descriptions of these components, and Appendix C of this document for discussion about the common aspects of email authentication in current environments. +-----+ +-----+ +------------+ | MUA |-->| MSA |-->| Border MTA | +-----+ +-----+ +------------+ | | V +----------+ | Internet | +----------+ | | V +-----+ +-----+ +------------------+ +------------+ | MUA |<--| MDA |<--| Intermediate MTA |<--| Border MTA | +-----+ +-----+ +------------------+ +------------+ Generally, it is assumed that the work of applying message authentication schemes takes place at a border MTA or a delivery MTA. This specification is written with that assumption in mind. However, there are some sites at which the entire mail infrastructure consists of a single host. In such cases, such terms as "border MTA" and "delivery MTA" might well apply to the same machine or even the very same agent. It is also possible that some message authentication tests could take place on an intermediate MTA. Although this document doesn't specifically describe such cases, they are not meant to be excluded.
1.5.4. Other TermsIn this document, the term "producer" refers to any component that adds this header field to messages it is handling, and "consumer" refers to any component that identifies, extracts, and parses the header field to use as part of a handling decision.
1.6. Trust EnvironmentThis header field permits one or more message validation mechanisms to communicate output to one or more separate assessment mechanisms. These mechanisms operate within a unified trust boundary that defines an Administrative Management Domain (ADMD). An ADMD contains one or more entities that perform validation and generate the header field
and one or more that consume it for some type of assessment. The field often contains no integrity or validation mechanism of its own, so its presence must be trusted implicitly. Hence, valid use of the header field requires removing any occurrences of it that are present when the message enters the ADMD. This ensures that later occurrences have been added within the trust boundary of the ADMD. The authserv-id token defined in Section 2.2 can be used to reference an entire ADMD or a specific validation engine within an ADMD. Although the labeling scheme is left as an operational choice, some guidance for selecting a token is provided in later sections of this document.
2. Definition and Format of the Header FieldThis section gives a general overview of the format of the header field being defined and then provides more formal specification.
2.1. General DescriptionThe header field specified here is called Authentication-Results. It is a Structured Header Field as defined in Internet Message Format ([MAIL]), and thus all of the related definitions in that document apply. This header field is added at the top of the message as it transits MTAs that do authentication checks, so some idea of how far away the checks were done can be inferred. It is therefore considered to be a trace field as defined in [MAIL], and thus all of the related definitions in that document apply. The value of the header field (after removing comments) consists of an authentication identifier, an optional version, and then a series of statements and supporting data. The statements are of the form "method=result" and indicate which authentication method(s) were applied and their respective results. For each such statement, the supporting data can include a "reason" string and one or more "property=value" statements indicating which message properties were evaluated to reach that conclusion. The header field can appear more than once in a single message, more than one result can be represented in a single header field, or a combination of these can be applied.
2.2. Formal DefinitionFormally, the header field is specified as follows using Augmented Backus-Naur Form ([ABNF]): authres-header = "Authentication-Results:" [CFWS] authserv-id [ CFWS authres-version ] ( no-result / 1*resinfo ) [CFWS] CRLF authserv-id = value ; see below for a description of this element authres-version = 1*DIGIT [CFWS] ; indicates which version of this specification is in use; ; this specification is version "1", and the absence of a ; version implies this version of the specification no-result = [CFWS] ";" [CFWS] "none" ; the special case of "none" is used to indicate that no ; message authentication was performed resinfo = [CFWS] ";" methodspec [ CFWS reasonspec ] *( CFWS propspec ) methodspec = [CFWS] method [CFWS] "=" [CFWS] result ; indicates which authentication method was evaluated ; and what its output was reasonspec = "reason" [CFWS] "=" [CFWS] value ; a free-form comment on the reason the given result ; was returned propspec = ptype [CFWS] "." [CFWS] property [CFWS] "=" pvalue ; an indication of which properties of the message ; were evaluated by the authentication scheme being ; applied to yield the reported result method = Keyword [ [CFWS] "/" [CFWS] method-version ] ; a method indicates which method's result is ; represented by "result", and is one of the methods ; explicitly defined as valid in this document ; or is an extension method as defined below method-version = 1*DIGIT [CFWS] ; indicates which version of the method specification is ; in use, corresponding to the matching entry in the IANA ; "Email Authentication Methods" registry; a value of "1" ; is assumed if this version string is absent
result = Keyword ; indicates the results of the attempt to authenticate ; the message; see below for details ptype = Keyword ; indicates whether the property being evaluated was ; a parameter to an [SMTP] command, was a value taken ; from a message header field, was some property of ; the message body, or was some other property evaluated by ; the receiving MTA; expected to be one of the "property ; types" explicitly defined as valid, or an extension ; ptype, as defined below property = special-smtp-verb / Keyword ; indicates more specifically than "ptype" what the ; source of the evaluated property is; the exact meaning ; is specific to the method whose result is being reported ; and is defined more clearly below special-smtp-verb = "mailfrom" / "rcptto" ; special cases of [SMTP] commands that are made up ; of multiple words pvalue = [CFWS] ( value / [ [ local-part ] "@" ] domain-name ) [CFWS] ; the value extracted from the message property defined ; by the "ptype.property" construction "local-part" is defined in Section 3.4.1 of [MAIL], and "CFWS" is defined in Section 3.2.2 of [MAIL]. "Keyword" is defined in Section 4.1.2 of [SMTP]. The "value" is as defined in Section 5.1 of [MIME]. The "domain-name" is as defined in Section 3.5 of [DKIM]. The "Keyword" used in "result" above is further constrained by the necessity of being enumerated in Section 2.7. See Section 2.5 for a description of the authserv-id element. If the value portion of a "pvalue" construction identifies something intended to be an email identity, then it MUST use the right hand portion of that ABNF definition. The list of commands eligible for use with the "smtp" ptype can be found in Section 4.1 of [SMTP].
The "propspec" may be omitted if, for example, the method was unable to extract any properties to do its evaluation yet has a result to report. Where an SMTP command name is being reported as a "property", the agent generating the header field represents that command by converting it to lowercase and dropping any spaces (e.g., "MAIL FROM" becomes "mailfrom", "RCPT TO" becomes "rcptto", etc.). A "ptype" value of "policy" indicates a policy decision about the message not specific to a property of the message that could be extracted. See Section 2.4 for details. Examples of complete messages using this header field can be found in Appendix B.
2.3. Property Types (ptypes) and PropertiesThe "ptype" in the ABNF above indicates the general type of property being described by the result being reported, upon which the reported result was based. Coupled with the "property", which is more specific, they indicate from which particular part of the message the reported data were extracted. Combinations of ptypes and properties are registered and described in the "Email Authentication Methods" registry, coupled with the authentication methods with which they are used. This is further described in Section 6. Legal values of "ptype" are as defined in the IANA "Email Authentication Property Types" registry, created by [RFC7410]. The initial values and what they typically indicate are as follows, based on [RFC7001]: body: Information that was extracted from the body of the message. This might be an arbitrary string of bytes, a hash of a string of bytes, a Uniform Resource Identifier, or some other content of interest. The "property" is an indication of where within the message body the extracted content was found, and can indicate an offset, identify a MIME part, etc. header: Indicates information that was extracted from the header of the message. This might be the value of a header field or some portion of a header field. The "property" gives a more precise indication of the place in the header from which the extraction took place.
policy: A local policy mechanism was applied that augments or overrides the result returned by the authentication mechanism. (See Section 2.4.) smtp: Indicates information that was extracted from an SMTP command that was used to relay the message. The "property" indicates which SMTP command included the extracted content as a parameter. Results reported using unknown ptypes MUST NOT be used in making handling decisions. They can be safely ignored by consumers. Entries in the "Email Authentication Methods" registry can define properties that deviate from these definitions when appropriate. Such deviations need to be clear in the registry and/or in the defining document. See Section 2.7.1 for an example.
2.4. The "policy" ptypeA special ptype value of "policy" is also defined. This ptype is provided to indicate that some local policy mechanism was applied that augments or even replaces (i.e., overrides) the result returned by the authentication mechanism. The property and value in this case identify the local policy that was applied and the result it returned. For example, a DKIM signature is not required to include the Subject header field in the set of fields that are signed. An ADMD receiving such a message might decide that such a signature is unacceptable, even if it passes, because the content of the Subject header field could be altered post-signing without invalidating the signature. Such an ADMD could replace the DKIM "pass" result with a "policy" result and then also include the following in the corresponding Authentication-Result field: ... dkim=fail policy.dkim-rules=unsigned-subject ... In this case, the property is "dkim-rules", indicating some local check by that name took place and that check returned a result of "unsigned-subject". These are arbitrary names selected by (and presumably used within) the ADMD making use of them, so they are not normally registered with IANA or otherwise specified apart from setting syntax restrictions that allow for easy parsing within the rest of the header field. This ptype existed in the original specification for this header field, but without a complete description or example of intended use.
As a result, it has not seen any practical use to date that matches its intended purpose. These added details are provided to guide implementers toward proper use.
2.5. Authentication Identifier FieldEvery Authentication-Results header field has an authentication service identifier field (authserv-id above). Specifically, this is any string intended to identify the authentication service within the ADMD that conducted authentication checks on the message. This identifier is intended to be machine-readable and not necessarily meaningful to users. Since agents consuming this field will use this identifier to determine whether its contents are of interest (and are safe to use), the uniqueness of the identifier MUST be guaranteed by the ADMD that generates it and MUST pertain to that ADMD. MUAs or downstream filters SHOULD use this identifier to determine whether or not the data contained in an Authentication-Results header field ought to be used or ignored. For simplicity and scalability, the authentication service identifier SHOULD be a common token used throughout the ADMD. Common practice is to use the DNS domain name used by or within that ADMD, sometimes called the "organizational domain", but this is not strictly necessary. For tracing and debugging purposes, the authentication identifier can instead be the specific hostname of the MTA performing the authentication check whose result is being reported. Moreover, some implementations define a substructure to the identifier; these are outside of the scope of this specification. Note, however, that using a local, relative identifier like a flat hostname, rather than a hierarchical and globally unique ADMD identifier like a DNS domain name, makes configuration more difficult for large sites. The hierarchical identifier permits aggregating related, trusted systems together under a single, parent identifier, which in turn permits assessing the trust relationship with a single reference. The alternative is a flat namespace requiring individually listing each trusted system. Since consumers will use the identifier to determine whether to use the contents of the header field: o Changes to the identifier impose a large, centralized administrative burden.
o Ongoing administrative changes require constantly updating this centralized table, making it difficult to ensure that an MUA or downstream filter will have access to accurate information for assessing the usability of the header field's content. In particular, consumers of the header field will need to know not only the current identifier(s) in use but previous ones as well to account for delivery latency or later re-assessment of the header field's contents. Examples of valid authentication identifiers are "example.com", "mail.example.org", "ms1.newyork.example.com", and "example-auth".
2.6. Version TokensThe grammar above provides for the optional inclusion of versions on both the header field itself (attached to the authserv-id token) and on each of the methods being reported. The method version refers to the method itself, which is specified in the documents describing those methods, while the authserv-id version refers to this document and thus the syntax of this header field. The purpose of including these is to avoid misinterpretation of the results. That is, if a parser finds a version after an authserv-id that it does not explicitly know, it can immediately discontinue trying to parse since what follows might not be in an expected format. For a method version, the parser SHOULD ignore a method result if the version is not supported in case the semantics of the result have a different meaning than what is expected. For example, if a hypothetical DKIM version 2 yielded a "pass" result for different reasons than version 1 does, a consumer of this field might not want to use the altered semantics. Allowing versions in the syntax is a way to indicate this and let the consumer of the header field decide.
2.7. Defined Methods and Result ValuesEach individual authentication method returns one of a set of specific result values. The subsections below provide references to the documents defining the authentication methods specifically supported by this document, and their corresponding result values. Verifiers SHOULD use these values as described below. New methods not specified in this document, but intended to be supported by the header field defined here, MUST include a similar result table either in their defining documents or in supplementary ones.
2.7.1. DKIM and DomainKeysDKIM is represented by the "dkim" method and is defined in [DKIM]. DomainKeys is defined in [DOMAINKEYS] and is represented by the "domainkeys" method. Section 3.8 of [DOMAINKEYS] enumerates some possible results of a DomainKeys evaluation. Those results are not used when generating this header field; rather, the results returned are listed below. A signature is "acceptable to the ADMD" if it passes local policy checks (or there are no specific local policy checks). For example, an ADMD policy might require that the signature(s) on the message be added using the DNS domain present in the From header field of the message, thus making third-party signatures unacceptable even if they verify. Both DKIM and DomainKeys use the same result set, as follows: none: The message was not signed. pass: The message was signed, the signature or signatures were acceptable to the ADMD, and the signature(s) passed verification tests. fail: The message was signed and the signature or signatures were acceptable to the ADMD, but they failed the verification test(s). policy: The message was signed, but some aspect of the signature or signatures was not acceptable to the ADMD. neutral: The message was signed, but the signature or signatures contained syntax errors or were not otherwise able to be processed. This result is also used for other failures not covered elsewhere in this list. temperror: The message could not be verified due to some error that is likely transient in nature, such as a temporary inability to retrieve a public key. A later attempt may produce a final result. permerror: The message could not be verified due to some error that is unrecoverable, such as a required header field being absent. A later attempt is unlikely to produce a final result. DKIM results are reported using a ptype of "header". The property, however, represents one of the tags found in the DKIM-Signature header field rather than a distinct header field. For example, the
ptype-property combination "header.d" refers to the content of the "d" (signing domain) tag from within the signature header field, and not a distinct header field called "d". The ability to report different DKIM results for a message with multiple signatures is described in [RFC6008]. [DKIM] advises that if a message fails verification, it is to be treated as an unsigned message. A report of "fail" here permits the receiver of the report to decide how to handle the failure. A report of "neutral" or "none" preempts that choice, ensuring the message will be treated as if it had not been signed. Section 3.1 of [DOMAINKEYS] describes a process by which the sending address of the message is determined. DomainKeys results are thus reported along with the signing domain name, the sending address of the message, and the name of the header field from which the latter was extracted. This means that a DomainKeys result includes a ptype- property combination of "header.d", plus one of "header.from" and "header.sender". The sending address extracted from the header is included with any [MAIL]-style comments removed; moreover, the local- part of the address and the "@" character are removed if it has not been authenticated in some way.
2.7.2. SPF and Sender IDSPF and Sender ID use the "spf" and "sender-id" method names, respectively. The result values for SPF are defined in Section 2.6 of [SPF], and those definitions are included here by reference: +-----------+--------------------------------+ | Code | Meaning | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | none | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.1 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | pass | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.3 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | fail | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.4 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | softfail | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.5 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | policy | RFC 7601, Section 2.4 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | neutral | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.2 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | temperror | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.6 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ | permerror | [RFC7208], Section 2.6.7 | +-----------+--------------------------------+ These result codes are used in the context of this specification to reflect the result returned by the component conducting SPF evaluation. For SPF, the ptype used is "smtp", and the property is either "mailfrom" or "helo", since those values are the ones SPF can evaluate. (If the SMTP client issued the EHLO command instead of HELO, the property used is "helo".) The "sender-id" method is described in [SENDERID]. For this method, the ptype used is "header" and the property will be the name of the header field from which the Purported Responsible Address (see [PRA]) was extracted -- namely, one of "Resent-Sender", "Resent-From", "Sender", or "From". The results for Sender ID are listed and described in Section 4.2 of [SENDERID], but for the purposes of this specification, the SPF definitions enumerated above are used instead. Also, [SENDERID] specifies result codes that use mixed case, but they are typically used all lowercase in this context.
For both methods, an additional result of "policy" is defined, which means the client was authorized to inject or relay mail on behalf of the sender's DNS domain according to the authentication method's algorithm, but local policy dictates that the result is unacceptable. For example, "policy" might be used if SPF returns a "pass" result, but a local policy check matches the sending DNS domain to one found in an explicit list of unacceptable DNS domains (e.g., spammers). If the retrieved sender policies used to evaluate SPF and Sender ID do not contain explicit provisions for authenticating the local-part (see Section 3.4.1 of [MAIL]) of an address, the "pvalue" reported along with results for these mechanisms SHOULD NOT include the local- part or the following "@" character.
2.7.3. "iprev"The result values used by the "iprev" method, defined in Section 3, are as follows: pass: The DNS evaluation succeeded, i.e., the "reverse" and "forward" lookup results were returned and were in agreement. fail: The DNS evaluation failed. In particular, the "reverse" and "forward" lookups each produced results, but they were not in agreement, or the "forward" query completed but produced no result, e.g., a DNS RCODE of 3, commonly known as NXDOMAIN, or an RCODE of 0 (NOERROR) in a reply containing no answers, was returned. temperror: The DNS evaluation could not be completed due to some error that is likely transient in nature, such as a temporary DNS error, e.g., a DNS RCODE of 2, commonly known as SERVFAIL, or other error condition resulted. A later attempt may produce a final result. permerror: The DNS evaluation could not be completed because no PTR data are published for the connecting IP address, e.g., a DNS RCODE of 3, commonly known as NXDOMAIN, or an RCODE of 0 (NOERROR) in a reply containing no answers, was returned. This prevented completion of the evaluation. A later attempt is unlikely to produce a final result. There is no "none" for this method since any TCP connection delivering email has an IP address associated with it, so some kind of evaluation will always be possible. The result is reported using a ptype of "policy" (as this is not part of any established protocol) and a property of "iprev".
For discussion of the format of DNS replies, see "Domain Names - Implementation and Specification" ([DNS]).
2.7.4. SMTP AUTHSMTP AUTH (defined in [AUTH]) is represented by the "auth" method. Its result values are as follows: none: SMTP authentication was not attempted. pass: The SMTP client authenticated to the server reporting the result using the protocol described in [AUTH]. fail: The SMTP client attempted to authenticate to the server using the protocol described in [AUTH] but was not successful (such as providing a valid identity but an incorrect password). temperror: The SMTP client attempted to authenticate using the protocol described in [AUTH] but was not able to complete the attempt due to some error that is likely transient in nature, such as a temporary directory service lookup error. A later attempt may produce a final result. permerror: The SMTP client attempted to authenticate using the protocol described in [AUTH] but was not able to complete the attempt due to some error that is likely not transient in nature, such as a permanent directory service lookup error. A later attempt is not likely to produce a final result. The result of AUTH is reported using a ptype of "smtp" and a property of either: o "auth", in which case the value is the authorization identity generated by the exchange initiated by the AUTH command; or o "mailfrom", in which case the value is the mailbox identified by the AUTH parameter used with the MAIL FROM command. If both identities are available, both can be reported. For example, consider this command issued by a client that has completed session authentication with the AUTH command resulting in an authorized identity of "firstname.lastname@example.org": MAIL FROM:<email@example.com> AUTH=<firstname.lastname@example.org> This could result in a "resinfo" construction like so: ; auth=pass email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Note that in all cases other than "pass", the message was sent by an unauthenticated client. All non-"pass" cases SHOULD thus be treated as equivalent with respect to this method.
2.7.5. Other Registered CodesResult codes were also registered in other RFCs as follows: o Vouch By Reference (in [AR-VBR], represented by "vbr"); o Authorized Third-Party Signatures (in [ATPS], represented by "dkim-atps"); o Author Domain Signing Practices (in [ADSP], represented by "dkim- adsp"); o Require-Recipient-Valid-Since (in [RRVS], represented by "rrvs"); o S/MIME (in [SMIME-REG], represented by "smime").
2.7.6. Extension MethodsAdditional authentication method identifiers (extension methods) may be defined in the future by later revisions or extensions to this specification. These method identifiers are registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and, preferably, published in an RFC. See Section 6 for further details. Extension methods can be defined for the following reasons: 1. To allow additional information from new authentication systems to be communicated to MUAs or downstream filters. The names of such identifiers ought to reflect the name of the method being defined but ought not be needlessly long. 2. To allow the creation of "sub-identifiers" that indicate different levels of authentication and differentiate between their relative strengths, e.g., "auth1-weak" and "auth1-strong". Authentication method implementers are encouraged to provide adequate information, via message header field comments if necessary, to allow an MUA developer to understand or relay ancillary details of authentication results. For example, if it might be of interest to relay what data was used to perform an evaluation, such information could be relayed as a comment in the header field, such as: Authentication-Results: example.com; foo=pass bar.baz=blob (2 of 3 tests OK)
Experimental method identifiers MUST only be used within ADMDs that have explicitly consented to use them. These method identifiers and the parameters associated with them are not documented in RFCs. Therefore, they are subject to change at any time and not suitable for production use. Any MTA, MUA, or downstream filter intended for production use SHOULD ignore or delete any Authentication-Results header field that includes an experimental (unknown) method identifier.
2.7.7. Extension Result CodesAdditional result codes (extension results) might be defined in the future by later revisions or extensions to this specification. Result codes MUST be registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and preferably published in an RFC. See Section 6 for further details. Experimental results MUST only be used within ADMDs that have explicitly consented to use them. These results and the parameters associated with them are not formally documented. Therefore, they are subject to change at any time and not suitable for production use. Any MTA, MUA, or downstream filter intended for production use SHOULD ignore or delete any Authentication-Results header field that includes an extension result.