Cybercrime and data theft can hamper business operations as the correspondence typically occurs over untrusted external networks. The preferred route of confidential business communications is email, and threat actors easily recognize it is the organization’s most crucial assets.
The report of Verizon claims that 90% of the cyber attacks take place via emails. Strong email security empowers organizations to safeguard sensitive information against loss, theft, or unauthorized access.
What is Email Security?
Email security is concerned with effective planning and management that offers safety to the company’s email system and IT infrastructure. With proper planning and constant monitoring, organizations can implement and maintain email security.
This article will give a precise overview of all the common threats related to the security breach and the best practices to overcome the risk of security attacks.
Common threats related to emails
Phishing: Phishing is the most common form of attack variation designed with malicious emails that trick users into falling prey to a scam. It is a prevalent way of email attack for threat actors because it is simple, cheap and effective.
A phishing campaign is carried to access the user’s financial data, credentials, and other relevant information. It leads to almost 53% of the total email security breach that happens in organizations. Phishing is virtually free to be carried, but it costs heavily to the user through identity theft, data loss and malware functions.
Malware: Malware, also known as malicious software, includes the use of viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, etc. Attackers are taking the benefit of this software’s and launching various attacks on the organizations’ IT infrastructure.
The malicious authority gains control over the system and server if the attacks are successful. It can further exploit the infrastructure to obtain sensitive information, monitor users’ actions, change privileges and execute malicious operations.
Whaling: Whaling is a highly targeted phishing activity designed to attack senior and high profile executives. The victims or whales are manipulated under legitimate email masquerade to authorize high-value wire transfers to the attacker.
The sophisticated whaling emails don’t require much technical know-how but deliver enormous returns. It employs various tactics like email spoofing, website spoofing, social engineering, etc.
Ransomware: Ransomware is a particular category of malicious software that usually blocks access to the data or threatens to publish vital information until the victim settles for a ransom fee to the attacker. It is mainly done by encrypting the victim’s file to extort the demanded money.
It is one of the profound forms of attack that has led to 60% of SMBs go kaput within six months of hitting with ransomware. Ransomware attacks over the last few years have increased at an alarming rate of 109%.
Social engineering: Social engineering is a non-technical strategy where cyber attackers psychologically manipulate the user to break the standard security practice. The attack means it is very dangerous as it relies on human mistakes rather than hacking the system technically.
This malicious intent is practiced through various means like email spoofing, phishing, baiting, etc. It aims to trap users through their personal fear, greed, and curiosity.
Best practices to implement email security
Strong and unique passwords: The primary reason why the emails are exposed to data theft or hacking is because of weak passwords. Creating a strong and unique password makes it difficult for the hacker to break into the system easily.
An ideal password combination will employ the upper and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers. The user should avoid the common letters, number arrangements and personal data, which makes the password quite predictable for an attack.
Involve two-factor authentication: The two-factor authentication involves adding an extra layer of protection that makes it challenging for the hacker to peek into the system. The attacker only needs to do guesswork to retrieve a password.
With two-factor authentication, he will still need a code to gain access to the message. This enables the web application or social media to protect the email from a data breach.
Scan and open documents: Practise scanning all the attachments before opening an email to safeguard against virus threats. The cloud email security supplement and hosted email services help the user to trace the dodgy activities in the messages.
Users can easily delete suspicious messages and block the senders once the software alerts about the problems.
Never access emails from public Wi-Fi: This type of temptation is mainly during the holidays when the users access emails outside their office. The public Wi-Fi is not a safe route, and hackers look for such an opportunity to steal information.
It is best if free public Wi-Fi is completely avoided to get information.
Avoid storing default passwords: In the process of setting up a new account using the email address, a default password option is received. There is no need to select that option as it makes the email vulnerable to attack.
Users should delete the email address when the works get completed.
Monitor the phishing emails: As more users encounter phishing attacks, they need to be vigilant and cautious regarding any suspicious emails. These hacking techniques focus on robbing financial data and personal credentials.
To prevent such malicious attempts, it is better to identify the suspicious links, unsafe email attachments and unknown senders.
Use spam filters: Spam filters are in-built within the email services, or there are separate cloud-based services for the same. By turning on the spam filters, there are chances to block the emails that use particular phrases or words that are doing around the market.
The spam filter safeguards the user against dodgy links and vicious malware.
The modern email security threats need a multi-facet and comprehensive strategy that is far better than traditional support. The user needs to be careful about certain practices that include connecting apps with an email account, sharing private data, or logging through an unsecured browser.
Employee education and security awareness training are crucial for the organizations for countering these cyber-attacks. The email security should be discussed in-depth with the cloud security system to provide a protected environment and reduce the risk of threats. To learn more about Cybersecurity, you can upskill with Great Learning’s Stanford Advanced Computer Security Program. Happy Learning!0