Email Auto-Forwarding Impacted by Sending Domain Settings

May 6, 2019
From Northwestern University Information Technology

Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to ask for your assistance and provide guidance on an important matter related to email delivery requirements being implemented by government agencies, private industry, and other universities. Those requirements have an impact on email forwarding which may be used by our students, faculty, and staff. 
Most recently we learned that NSF, NIH, and NASA implemented the email validation system DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance), acting on an operational directive from the Department of Homeland Security. The system enhances email delivery reliability and strengthens efforts to combat phishing and increase mail confidence by instructing receiving domains to reject messages not delivered directly by the sending domain.
As more external partners implement DMARC, Northwestern individuals who have established auto-forwarding to send their emails to another account (e.g., Gmail) may not receive the forwarded email.
These delivery requirements are established by the sending domain. Delivery failures cannot be corrected by Northwestern Information Technology. Our recommendation is to work with researchers to make them aware of these changes with instructions to cease email auto-forwarding. 
If you have any questions about this communication, please contact me directly.
Tom Murphy
Chief Information Security Officer
Northwestern University