Email Security Defined
To safeguard against unauthorised access, loss or compromise, email protection is about securing confidential information in email messages and accounts. To spread malware, spam, and phishing attacks, email is also used. Scammers fraudulently entice recipients to separate confidential details, open attachments, or click on hyperlinks on the victim's computer that instal malware.
Many organisations either assume that their email is sufficiently protected when it is not in fact or feel that they are "too small" be attacked. It is misconceptions such as these that leave businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks and the resulting losses, lower productivity, and reputational damage.
Other organisations are fully aware that their security is substandard, but fail to accept the fact that without effective cybersecurity protection they cannot afford to be.
This article offers a brief summary of the online threats currently targeting email users, provides guidance on protecting enterprise email accounts effectively, and describes best practises for email protection that will help reduce the risk of an attack.
What Email-Based Cyber Threats Are There?
The digital threat environment continues to develop, and new variants of attacks are still emerging. However, as a result of their success in deceiving consumers, these risks exist. Business collaboration suites such as Office 365 and G Suite provide hackers with numerous entry points and vulnerabilities once within systems with email incorporated into applications and file sharing, which also suggests that email protection must include mid-attack steps, such as compromised account detection and access control software. Some of the most harmful and prevalent attacks that target email users at present include:
Phishing is a variation of attack in which malicious emails are sent by hackers intent on tricking users into falling for a scam. Usually, the purpose behind a phishing campaign is to get individuals to disclose financial details, credentials or other confidential information to the hacker.
Hackers may send thousands of phishing emails in a single day. As it is inexpensive, simple and effective, phishing is extremely prevalent. Phishing campaigns often lead to loss of data, identity theft or contamination with malware.
A threat attacker obtains access to a corporate email account in a business email compromise (BEC) attack and sends fraudulent emails under the name of the company. This allows the hacker to request payment or sensitive information from the business's clients or suppliers as well as reading any stored emails.
Viruses and Malware
Malware involves any software intended to interfere with, hurt or obtain unauthorised access to a computer device. Malware may perform various harmful functions without their permission, such as encrypting or deleting confidential data, using your computers for their own ends and tracking user behaviour. For enterprises, malware attacks may have significant consequences.
Ransomware is a particular type of malware that is intended to block access to a computer device until a sum of money is paid in the form of untraceable Bitcoin. It does this by encrypting the files of a victim before they have made the payment the attacker requested.
How Can I Increase The Security of My Email?
• Be vigilant, look out for spoofed email addresses like “payypal.com” or “faecbook.com”.
• Don’t click on suspicious ads.
• Don’t click/download suspicious attachments.
• Be mindful of the tell-tale signs of phishing emails (poor spelling, grammar).
• Use a malware scanner to scan any attachments before you open them.
• Always keep your email software, hardware and operating system up to date.
• If you are unsure about an email, call the person and ask if they sent it.
How To Build An Email Security Plan
Training in security awareness and cybersecurity are also important in preventing attacks, but user behaviour is often erratic. Therefore, the safest way to build a secure network and minimise the possibility of human error is to incorporate a centrally hosted and completely controlled business cloud email protection solution.
It is a good idea to contract the services of a third-party managed IT services provider specialising in email security. They will help to plan and implement new cybersecurity measures as well as training your staff on best practices to avoid online threats. They will also carry out what are known as penetration tests to stress test the protections you have in place.
If you are looking for a managed services provider, a good start is to speak with your peers who work or own businesses in the same niche as you. Ask them about their IT provider and whether or not they are satisfied. You can also reach out using social networks like LinkedIn to canvas for opinions from a wider array of business stakeholders.
Published by Nikki Cross