Internet-Draft MLM Transformations September 2022
Vesely Expires 18 March 2023 [Page]
Network Working Group
Intended Status:
A. Vesely

Mailing List Manager (MLM) Transformations


The widespread adoption of Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) led Mailing List Managers (MLM) to rewrite the From: header field as a workaround.

This document proposes three methods to get rid of munged From: lines. The methods vary requirements, complexity and success rates. Method one considers how MLMs can avoid From: munging for specific users. Methods two uses the Author: header field while method three tries to revert MLM transformations, in order to restore the original From: line after reception.

Status of This Memo

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

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 18 March 2023.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) ([RFC7489]) hinges on the alignment of the domain in the From: header field with an authenticated identifier. For that reason, mailing list managers (MLMs) that transform messages, however lightly, have to rewrite From:; an operation known as From: munging.

Depending on the kind of mailing list, From: munging can annoy participants or not. For lists paired by web fora, for example, it is almost unnoticed. For other lists, where personal knowledge plays a role, it can become a nuisance as it hinders off-list messaging.

In this document, we try and restore the end-to-end nature of the From: email field. We present three methods to obtain that result.

Method one considers how MLMs can avoid From: munging for subscribers who opted to receive non-munged messages, possibly relying on the Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) ([RFC8617]) produced by the MLM. Described in Section 3, this method requires a special setup of the mailing list, and a setting which implies trust in the list domain at each receiver.

Method two uses the Author: header field ([RFC9057]). Described in Section 4, this method requires either a special setup of the mailing list or a special behavior of author's domains, and a special setting which also implies trust in the list domain at each receiver.

Method three is described in Section 5. It works with MLMs configured to add just a footer and a subject tag to the messages that they redistribute, which is what "classic" MLMs currently do. The method requires no conferral of trust, but needs author domains to produce "easy" signatures, which several domains do but not all.

Author domains and MLMs can adopt any of these methods, possibly concurrently with one another. The first method provides that MLMs send some messages without From: munging. The latter two ones provide that MLMs continue From: munging, but enable receivers to revert it at the receiving Mail Delivery Agent stage; that is, where local filters run.

2. Terms Definitions

Signers and verifiers are defined by DKIM ([RFC6376]). The use of the term Mailing List Manager, almost always abbreviated MLM follows [RFC6377]. A MLM is a kind of Mediator in [RFC5598] parlance. It is usually composed of a Message Transfer Agent (MTA) with the usual suit of tools plus the mailing list software.

Message is defined in [RFC5322]. It consists of a header made up of one or more fields, and a body possibly composed of various MIME entities, the latter being defined in [RFC2045] and companions.

The term original is used here to refer to the Author or parts of the Author's message as it was sent out by the author's domain, where Author is defined in [RFC5598] and [RFC9057].

We use colon (:) to indicate header field names, as in From:, Author: and the like.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8175] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

3. The No-Munging Method

For each list with From: munging enabled, a participating MLM MUST configure the possibility to have From: munging disabled. Depending on the mailing list software used, a MLM can devise various methods to accomplish the task. Two examples are as follows:

Before allowing subscription to a non-munging list, a MLM MAY test that a recipient effectively receives its messages by sending a test message with a broken signature from a (sub)domain having p=reject.

DMARC local policy override is one of the use cases that [RFC8617] provides for ARC. As an application, we consider a DMARC filter can be configured to accept the authentication assessments provided by a verified ARC chain provided that the domains involved in message changes are marked as trusted. Accepting the assessments means that the filter acts as if the current Authentication-Results: were the ARC-Authentication-Results: certified by the first ARC set, the one with i=1. In the unusual case where the first ARC set is not by the MLM itself, it is REQUIRED that an aligned DKIM signature be reported as pass by the MLM's ARC-Authentication-Results:. That certifies that the message was essentially intact when it reached the MLM. So the result can be overridden when the MLM domain and any successive domain in the ARC chain are marked as trusted.

To produce an ARC set, a MLM's MTA performs SPF, DKIM and DMARC checks upon receiving a message from the author's domain. The results are saved in Authentication-Results: fields marked with the MLM's domain, while making sure that no spoofs exist. The ARC filter uses those fields to produce ARC-Authentication-Results: at the time when it seals the message, which is the last step before the message leaves the MLM domain.

ARC is not the only means by which a receiver can accept messages which fail DMARC. Simply whitelisting the MLM domain, authenticated by SPF or DKIM would suffice. The extra information that ARC brings can serve for final receivers to evaluate MLM's filtering and compute author's reputation. However, even MTAs that lack sophisticated reputation mechanisms can find ARC filters more convenient to set up, as that is exactly their function.

Setting the Author: header field is still useful to quickly check whether From: munging took place.

4. The Author: Method

This method outlines a protocol on top of DMARC whereby the From: header field is saved as Author:. MLMs modify From: in order to comply with DMARC. Mail Delivery Agents (MDAs) restore the original value.

Author domains that DKIM-sign outgoing messages SHOULD copy the value of From: to Author:, at least when one or more recipients are MLMs. Omission to do so limits the success of this method to MLMs that add the Author: field themselves. A mailbox provider can decide to not set Author: if its users seldom post to mailing lists. The Author: field can be set by the DKIM signing module. Signing Author: denotes an interest in this experiment. In this case, DMARC aggregate results are reported to the Author: domain as well.

MLMs who modify From: MUST add an Author: header field, copying the value of the pristine From:, unless the Author: field is already present. When Author: is present, it MUST NOT be modified. However, MLMs which modify From: SHALL apply the DMARC mechanism also to the Author: domain. MLMs MAY copy the pristine value of From: also to other fields such as Reply-To: or Cc: in order to ease messaging for recipients whose providers don't apply de-munging.

DMARC verifiers or downstream modules at receivers MUST check whether the From: domain having dmarc=pass is configured as a trusted MLM. In that case, if an Author: field exist and has a different domain, the module signals this result to downstream agents. How to signal it is a question of local settings and convenience. It can consist of an apposite reason or comment in Authentication-Results: (see example toward the end of Section 5.2), or it can just write dmarc=pass. It can also add an Original-From: field as a signal that From: can be restored to that value.

Receivers MUST NOT change From: at a stage where external forwarding is still possible.

MDAs, or better yet the part [RFC5598] calls rMDA, that is the receiver part, after any external forwarding has taken place, use the local signal to restore the pristine value of From:. The kind of signal can be designed so as to reduce the work of the rMDA module, which is executed for each local recipient.

Using this method, an author domain can eliminate the disruption caused by From: munging, at the cost of configuring known MLM domains. The method will work at least for messages originating internally, which have the Author: field, irrespective of Mail User Agents (MUAs) and MLMs.

For increased security, MLM and receiver can also deploy the Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) protocol [RFC8617]. A malicious actor can post list messages with fake From: or Author: values. Although a participating MLM checks those values, if the corresponding domains have loose DMARC policies (p=none) they can pass. Using ARC, a receiver knows what was the authentication status when the message arrived at the MLM. A verifier MAY omit to restore the value of From: if it wasn't authenticated by the MLM, or if it is deemed to be suspicious for whatever reason.

5. The Reversion Method

The scheme of this method is similar to the Author: method, but there is more work for the DKIM verifier. In exchange, the place where MLMs save the original value of From: doesn't have to be Author:, and there is no need to trust MLMs as the method verifies the original author domain signatures. So it works out of the box with many existing MLMs and several signers.

The method is based on the revertibility of the transformations a MLM applies to a message. These are described in Section 5.1. After reversion, the original DKIM signatures verify. That proves that the reversion is good, in particular for the original value of From:, which MLMs copy to Reply-To:, Cc: or similar.

While the definition of revertible transformation implies the way to revert it, an informal outline of an implementation is presented in Section 5.2.

This method is quite fragile as it needs compliance from multiple actors to interoperate. Asking users' domains to sign reasonably and limiting transformation to the essential sounds quite reasonable. However, if participants have to take special steps to be compatible, they'd probably opt for one of the other two methods. When each actor complies with the requirements in Section 5.3, this method is reliable.

5.1. Revertible Transformations

Message modifications can affect the header and/or the body of a message. This document only considers a very limited set of transformations, described in the following subsections. They turn out to be revertible.

5.1.1. Header Transformations Subject

MLM MAY modify the Subject: field by inserting a tag at the beginning of its value. A tag consists of a short text delimited by square brackets. For example:

  Subject: [added tag] Original value of subject

This transformation is easily reverted by removing the tag. For security reasons, subject tags MUST NOT exceed 20 characters.

Note that some MLMs carry out further changes to this field. For example:

  Subject: AW: [MLM-tag] German reply subject

can be transformed to:

  Subject: Re: [MLM-tag] German reply subject

That's why, if the field is signed, it is RECOMMENDED to save a copy of it as Original-Subject:. From

From: rewriting is necessary for DMARC. That way, the MLM domain becomes the primary identifier of a message, in the DMARC sense. It is often achieved by transforming a field like this:

  From: Original User <>

into one like the following:

  From: Original User via MLM <>

While the Author: method requires the original value to be copied to Author:, many MLMs save it in a variety of places, including Reply-To:, Cc:, X-Original-From:. When the original value is known, the transformation is revertible.

5.1.2. Body Transformations

We only consider footer addition. It MUST be performed in one of three ways, according to the format of the original message.

Single-part plain text
When the original message is not structured, a footer can be appended at the end of the original text. See example in Appendix A.1
Multipart added
The footer stands in its own MIME entity, which is appended as the last part of an original multipart/mixed structure. See example in Appendix A.2
Multipart wrapped
The footer stands in the second entity of a new multipart/mixed MIME structure whose first entity consists of the original body. See example in Appendix A.3

The footer begins with a line consisting exclusively of underscore ("_", ASCII 95) characters, at least four of them. Alternatively, a footer can consist of the three characters "-- " (dash, dash, space), the Usenet signature convention (see for example Section 4.3 of [RFC3676]). For security reasons, the footer MUST belong to an entity of Content-Type: text/plain in all cases. In addition, footers cannot exceed 10 lines of text, each shorter than 80 characters. If these restrictions are not met, the transformation cannot be reverted safely.

5.2. Outline of a Reverting Verifier

This subsection is informative.

The algorithm described here is implemented in a mail filter [zdkimfilter]. These kind of filters usually read the input message twice -first pass, verify; last pass, rewrite the message to insert Authentication-Results:. When enabling MLM transformation reversion, there can be a retry pass in between those two. The result is yielded during the SMTP dialogue with no noticeable delay. Implementing reversion changed the software from 22730 lines of C code to 26762. The bulk of such ~18% increase is due to the addition of encoding conversion functions. Changes involve both verifying and signing functions (see Section 5.3.1 for the latter).

While reading the header in the first pass, the verifier looks for specific fields:

  • From:
  • Author:
  • Original-From:
  • X-Original-From:
  • Reply-To:
  • Cc:

These are candidates to the original mailbox. Note that Reply-To: and Cc: may contain multiple mailboxes.

The verifier also collects the Subject: and any field named Original-* that the original signer might have set to ease the reversion. On reaching the end of the header, during the first pass, the verifier sorts the candidate original mailboxes according to the display name, which MLMs try and keep unaltered. The best candidate is then added to the collected set of Original-* fields. If the Subject: begins with a tag, its version without tag is added to that set as well, unless one was already found as Original-Subject:.

Next, before reading the body, the verifier looks for prospect signatures; that is, signatures whose "d=" domain is not aligned with SPF credentials ([RFC7208]), List-Post: ([RFC4201]), Sender:, or the munged From: (if deemed to have been munged). If any such signature exist, along with MLM or other signatures, then the verifier enables parsing the body to look for a footer.

Reversing verifiers also have to watch out for idiosyncrasies used to mask DKIM signatures. For example, a MLM introduced a header field named X-Mailman-Original-DKIM-Signature, because some receivers took the habit to downgrade messages with failed signatures, despite [RFC6376] recommendation to consider an unauthenticated message regardless of whether or not it looks like it was signed.

Body parsing is done in parallel with body canonicalization during the first pass. For multipart, track top level entities. Set transformation type to "wrapped" if there are exactly two entities, "added" otherwise. However, some lists, perhaps out of misconfiguration, insert an empty attachment before the one containing the footer. As it is unlikely that a mail client sends an empty attachment, heuristically it may be preferable to just not count it. For single-part, body parsing must avail of encoding conversions as needed. Assume identity encoding, 7bit or 8bit, unless otherwise directed by an Original-Content-Transfer-Encoding: field.

At the end of the first pass, the verifier knows how prospect signatures did. Let's recall that DKIM signature verification results from two independent operations, steps 3 and 4 in Section 6.1.3 of [RFC6376]. The signature in the "b=" tag depends on the header, while the body hash in the "bh=" tag depends on the body:

  • If the signature "b=" did not verify and the set of Original-* fields is not empty, then it is worth to try and re-canonicalize the header using the values in the set of Original-* fields.
  • If the body hash "bh=" did not match and a footer was found, then it is worth to try and re-canonicalize the body excluding the footer.

None, one, or both of the above operations are performed in the retry pass.

On writing Authentication-Results, if a prospect signature verifies after reversion, the verifier signals this fact as described in Section 4. Zdkimfilter writes a prominent, documented "reason" in the relevant resinfo stanza (Section 2.2 of [RFC7601]). For example:

  spf=pass smtp.mailfrom=list.example;
  dkim=pass reason="transformed";
  dkim=pass (whitelisted) header.d=list.example;

That way, reversion elements can be easily recognized and parsed by downstream agents.

5.3. Actors Roles and Compliance

5.3.1. Original Signer

Like the Author: method (Section 4), author domains who DKIM-sign outgoing messages SHOULD copy the value of From: to Author:, at least when one or more recipients are MLMs. Omission to do so limits the success of this method to MLMs that add the Author: field themselves. A mailbox provider can decide to not set Author: if its users seldom post to mailing lists. The Author: field can be set by the DKIM signing module. Signing Author: denotes an interest in this experiment. In this case, DMARC aggregate results are reported to the Author: domain as well.

In addition, Author domains who DKIM-sign outgoing messages MUST NOT sign header fields that MLMs will change, namely:

  • MIME-Version:
  • Content-Type:
  • Content-Transfer-Encoding:
  • Resent-Date:, Resent-From:, Resent-To:, Resent-Cc:
  • List-Id:, List-Help:, List-Unsubscribe:, List-Subscribe:, List-Post:, List-Owner:, List-Archive:

Not signing Content-Type: implies that author domains MUST NOT use the l= signature tag, according to Section 5.4.1 of [RFC6376].

Furthermore, the original value of the signed fields SHOULD be mirrored by corresponding fields, From: copied to Author:, the other fields to an Original-*: field, that is Reply-To: copied to Original-Reply-To:, Subject: to Original-Subject: and so forth. Copying Date: is actually not necessary. Copying Reply-To:, To: and Cc: is only useful if there are multiple recipients and the MLM changes their order. Original-Subject: is necessary if it starts with a tag that can be removed when attempting to recover the original value; this field is defined by [RFC5703], where similar considerations hold. Mailbox providers ignore this requirement if they are not aware of this experiment or don't participate. In many cases, the method succeeds anyway.

Other generic rules to ease reversion are as follows:

  • DKIM signatures MUST use the "relaxed" canonicalization, at least for the header, since MLMs may reflow header fields.
  • The quoted-printable encoding MUST NOT be used for the body of single-part text/plain messages, as it is impossible to guess original soft line breaks after re-encoding. Base64 is much more robust.
  • Single-part text/plain messages encoded as base64 MUST follow a constant column width of 76 characters (which is what most encoders do.) The encoding MUST be advertised by adding a new header field as follows:
  Original-Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
  • Original-*: fields with an empty value stand for non-existing counterparts.

5.3.2. MLM

MLMs MUST limit message changes to the revertible transformations described in Section 5.1. Since DKIM is MIME-agnostic, attention must be paid to preserve the exact preamble and epilogue of the original MIME structure. Several "classic" mailing lists behave in that way.

MLMs MUST apply their own DKIM signature.

It is RECOMMENDED that MLMs insert a mailbox entry to Reply-To: or Cc: in order to ease off-list replies as well as to allow transformation reversion.

MLMs which collect posts from other MLMs must avoid to add their own footer and subject tag. Transformation reversion cannot be stacked. A second-level MLM can modify or replace the content of previous transformations. Attention must be paid to not exceed tag and footer length limits.

5.3.3. Verifier

Attempts to verify original signatures can be done as outlined in Section 5.2. The reversion MUST NOT alter the messages signed and distributed by MLMs, except for adding an Authentication-Results: header field, and possibly an Original-From: or other header field used as a signal to downstream agents.

If an original signature with rewritten From: is recovered, the verifier MUST make sure that the original value of From: is written out in a field agreed upon by downstream agents, typically Original-From:, which [RFC5703] suggests for a similar use. However, [RFC7960] suggests that Original-From: be added by mediators as well. Whatever field is used, the filter SHALL make sure it doesn't already exist. An MDA downstream MAY combine the Authentication-Results: with that field to restore the original value of From:. Replacing From: can invalidate the message, therefore, it must be done after any dot-forward processing, so that external verifiers receive the message as distributed by the MLM, and can revert transformations by themselves.

If the Author: field is found and if it is included in the h= tag of the original signature, the corresponding DMARC record SHOULD be looked up and its "rua=" and "ruf=" tags considered for feedback reports, whatever the result. Omitting feedback can hamper the tuning of DKIM signatures at remote sites. A verifier can ignore reporting if it hasn't yet enabled it at all.

If applying DMARC policies is considered, it is the From: field which rules. The policy of the Author: domain SHALL only be considered if From: is going to be changed in order to forward a modified version of the message.

6. Security Considerations

Rewriting the From: header field is a treacherous modification to messages. It fosters the belief that the display name of a mailbox is more true than the angle address. A belief further consented by the tendency to not even display the latter. Bad actors take advantage of this belief by displaying the names of trusted institutions paired with trash email addresses hidden between angle brackets. That trick defeats DMARC's purpose.

It is out of this document's scope to suggest how mail user agents (MUAs) could counter phishing by highlighting security indicators (for the extent that indicators can actually help preventing phishing attacks). Let's just note that MUAs have to cope with MLMs and phishing alike, which makes it hard to devise a pattern to tell apart one from the other without getting involved with the reputation of the specific domains.

By safely restoring munged From: to the original value, that contrast is eliminated. Then, perhaps, deceptive From: lines might become amenable to some kind of efficient indication.

Of course, MLM role can be played by miscreants as well. However, replaying a signed message, even with revertible transformations, has more limits than forging scam messages anew. Therefore, the risk introduced by easing transformation reversion is considerably lower than that of not signing, or of keeping DMARC policy at "none".

Using the Author: method (Section 4) with an unaware MLM configured as trusted implies the risk of bad actors writing fake Author: fields for phishing. This risk can be mitigated if the MLM applies ARC seals ([RFC8617]). In that case the reputation of the original author can be taken into account.

An unlikely risk is that of a fake MLM sending messages with Author: signed by a broken signature in order to trick a reverting verifier into sending fake feedback reports.

Compared with the use of "l=" tag (Section 8.2 of [RFC6376]), the fact that footers are written in plain text removes the main security objection about footer additions. Namely, footers cannot completely replace the original content in the end recipient's eyes by exploiting lax HTML parsing in the MUA.

Still, a footer can contain dangerous URLs and deceiving text. That possibility has to be countered by usual mail filtering and savvy behavior.

7. IANA Considerations

IANA maintains the "Message Header" registry with several subregistries. IANA is asked to make the assignments set out in the following section.

7.1. Provisional Message Header Field Names

IANA is asked to create new entries in the "Provisional Message Header Field Names" registry as follows.

Table 1
Header Field Name Applicable Protocol Status Author/Change controller Reference
Original-Content-Transfer-Encoding mail provisional IETF this I-D
Original-Reply-To mail provisional IETF this I-D
Original-Cc mail provisional IETF this I-D

8. Experimental Goals

Although mailing lists account for a minor part of the global email traffic, they are a tool of the trade in a number of communities, including IETF. In these communities, every body complains about how From: munging ruined their habits. DMARC authors want to stress that it wasn't their intention to have hard policies such as p=reject sported by domains that have human users who may participate in mailing list.

One way to see if From: munging is really disturbing is to gauge what people is willing to do to fix it. There are mailing lists that reacted by omitting any message transformation. Some other lists cannot do it for legal reasons. The next possibility is to follow some of the experimental methods proposed here. On the other hand, there are also lists that always munge From:, even when the author domain has p=none or no DMARC record at all. And there are domains who publish p=quarantine; pct=0 in order to force munging and thereby reduce failures in feedback reports. So maybe From: munging is not such a disruption.

The no-munging method is the method of choice for those who deploy a DMARC filter which can be configured to trust some ARC sealers. For mailing lists that offer it, that is.

The Author: method can be experimented by a single domain, which would then be able to publish a hard DMARC policy and still deliver de-munged MLM messages among its own users. Or it can be set up by a mailing list, possibly followed by a (growing) number of participants.

The reversion method requires no MLM changes, so a single domain can experiment with it, gaining the possibility to de-munge some of the mailing list messages it receives. Deploying all methods makes sense, using one as a fallback for another.

The success of this experiment can be measured by the number of lists offering a no-munging alternative, and by the appearance of Author: fields in email messages. A positive outcome will have solved the DMARC vs. MLMs problem. On the other hand, if we gauge zero interest in the experiment, we can conclude that the much waved dissatisfaction with From: munging is not really a hindrance. So in either case we'll have eliminated part of the hesitations that prevent widespread full usage of DMARC.

9. Acknowledgments

Section 3 is almost entirely due to prof. Stephen J. Turnbull, who helpfully elicited many details.

10. References

10.1. Normative References

Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of Internet Message Bodies", RFC 2045, DOI 10.17487/RFC2045, , <>.
Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Klensin, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 5321, DOI 10.17487/RFC5321, , <>.
Resnick, P., Ed., "Internet Message Format", RFC 5322, DOI 10.17487/RFC5322, , <>.
Crocker, D., Ed., Hansen, T., Ed., and M. Kucherawy, Ed., "DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures", STD 76, RFC 6376, DOI 10.17487/RFC6376, , <>.
Kucherawy, M., Ed. and E. Zwicky, Ed., "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)", RFC 7489, DOI 10.17487/RFC7489, , <>.
Ratliff, S., Jury, S., Satterwhite, D., Taylor, R., and B. Berry, "Dynamic Link Exchange Protocol (DLEP)", RFC 8175, DOI 10.17487/RFC8175, , <>.
Andersen, K., Long, B., Ed., Blank, S., Ed., and M. Kucherawy, Ed., "The Authenticated Received Chain (ARC) Protocol", RFC 8617, DOI 10.17487/RFC8617, , <>.
Crocker, D., "Email Author Header Field", RFC 9057, DOI 10.17487/RFC9057, , <>.

10.2. Informative References

Gellens, R., "The Text/Plain Format and DelSp Parameters", RFC 3676, DOI 10.17487/RFC3676, , <>.
Kompella, K., Rekhter, Y., and L. Berger, "Link Bundling in MPLS Traffic Engineering (TE)", RFC 4201, DOI 10.17487/RFC4201, , <>.
Hansen, T. and C. Daboo, "Sieve Email Filtering: MIME Part Tests, Iteration, Extraction, Replacement, and Enclosure", RFC 5703, DOI 10.17487/RFC5703, , <>.
Crocker, D., "Internet Mail Architecture", RFC 5598, DOI 10.17487/RFC5598, , <>.
Kucherawy, M., "DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Mailing Lists", BCP 167, RFC 6377, DOI 10.17487/RFC6377, , <>.
Kitterman, S., "Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for Authorizing Use of Domains in Email, Version 1", RFC 7208, DOI 10.17487/RFC7208, , <>.
Kucherawy, M., "Message Header Field for Indicating Message Authentication Status", RFC 7601, DOI 10.17487/RFC7601, , <>.
Martin, F., Ed., Lear, E., Ed., Draegen, T., Ed., Zwicky, E., Ed., and K. Andersen, Ed., "Interoperability Issues between Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) and Indirect Email Flows", RFC 7960, DOI 10.17487/RFC7960, , <>.
"zdkimfilter", <>.

Appendix A. Examples

In the examples that follow, the first character of each wrapped line of DKIM-Signature: fields should be a TAB. For editorial reasons, it is rendered as four spaces. While visually there is little difference, those signatures won't verify unless replacing them with a TAB.

To verify the examples, public keys can be set as follows: IN TXT ( "v=DKIM1; g=*; k=rsa; "
"1nu/+Nn2sUwIDAQAB" )

s._domainkey.lists.example IN TXT ( "v=DKIM1; k=rsa; "

A.1. Single-part plain text

Base64 encoding has to be decoded in order to locate the footer. The original encoding was text/plain, this can be inferred by the verifier from the absence of an Original-Content-Transfer-Encoding: field. The original body hash will match after decoding and removing the footer. Note that an "l=" tag couldn't have done the trick in this case.

Received: from lists.example by with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple; d=lists.example; s=s;
    t=1603901305; bh=MjC5ikx26j8beyDJiz7Rk/4W+ppdGOmqh6koz0gLa8o=;
Received: from by lists.example with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple;; s=s;
    t=1603889142; bh=hrDXocZNPy1+eUFYIk1PVRKa6mUMb8+ql9CFNABacww=;
Original-From: Author <>
Received: from by with ESMTPA
Message-ID: <123456@author.example>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2020 13:12:55 +0100
From: Author <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: MLM@lists.example
Subject: [example] Check simple MLM message
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64


A.2. Multipart added

When the original message has a MIME structure, MLMs can append an entity.

Received: from lists.example by with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple; d=lists.example; s=s;
    t=1603974193; bh=sEPYSlJlh90leqy5+63oPn1iU+9P684R92cZHXa9ENw=;
Old-Authentication-Results: lists.example;
Received: from by lists.example with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple;; s=s;
    t=1603973996; bh=eWqyE53pjRVCFGyHY1zGQTkCEvucN1vNN4cTcWk90WU=;
Old-Authentication-Results:; auth=pass (details omitted)
Original-From: Author <>
Received: from by with ESMTPA
Message-ID: <123456@author.example>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2020 13:12:55 +0100
From: Author via MLM <MLM@lists.example>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: MLM@lists.example
Subject: [example] Check simple MLM message
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=original-boundary

Original preamble must be preserved!

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

This is a plain text message submitted to a mailing list.
The mailing list is expected to add a footer and a subject tag.


Content-Type: image/png
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64


Content-Tyep: text/plain

this message was modified by MLM example
adding this footer and the subject tag
(note that l= cannot work in this case)


A.3. Multipart wrapped

When the original body is multipart/alternative, MLMs have to wrap the whole body into the first entity of a multipart/mixed structure. Indeed, appending an entity to a multipart/alternative would result in it either hiding or being hidden by the existing ones.

Received: from lists.example by with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple; d=lists.example; s=s;
    t=1603962061; bh=n4/RahgnfVg7htgJtCr7TwEW4eKA1O5oiNaQFA5HU+A=;
Old-Authentication-Results: lists.example;
Received: from by lists.example with ESMTP
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=simple/simple;; s=s;
    t=1603961679; bh=XiCPbOV1vcu2Q2TyEUOuT4SMun2AjYj/Va6KRPa1lv0=;
Old-Authentication-Results:; auth=pass (details omitted)
Original-From: Author <>
Received: from by with ESMTPA
Message-ID: <123456@author.example>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2020 13:12:55 +0100
From: Author via MLM <MLM@lists.example>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: MLM@lists.example
Subject: [example] Check simple MLM message
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=MLM-boundary

This is the MLM preamble, not signed by Author.

Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=original-boundary

Original preamble must be preserved!

Content-Type: text/plain;

This is a plain text message submitted to a mailing list.
The mailing list is expected to add a footer and a subject tag.


Content-Type: text/html;

<p>This is a plain text message submitted to a mailing list.
The mailing list is expected to add a footer and a subject tag.



Original epilogue

Content-Type: text/plain

this message was modified by MLM example
adding this footer and the subject tag
(note that l= is not set)


MLM epilogue

Author's Address

Alessandro Vesely
v. L. Anelli 13
20122 Milano MI