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Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a setup for validating emails by figuring out whether the sender is authorized to use a particular domain. The SPF uses the Domain Name System or entries to check a sender against a list of authorized IP addresses.
The SPF is part of a greater effort to protect users who receive email over the Internet. The creation of open source SPF resources is part of this move to protect users from avariety of hazards related to the use of email.
A standard called the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a popular protocol for sending messages across IP systems, allows for emails to be sent from anywhere, with a given indicated source in headers, etc. The SPF is meant to augment email validation by making sure that the sender is authorized. Without an SPF, an email recipient is vulnerable to something called email spoofing, where hackers and other unauthorized parties may use certain kinds of email forging to trick recipients. Some of these efforts are related to phishing scams, where hackers seek to collect personal information about other users through deceptive email messages.