For individuals and corporations, email security remains to be a priority. Malicious cyberattackers take advantage of the email platform because it is a widely used tool in communication, carrying volumes of vital business data.
There are 3.9 billion active email users worldwide, highlighting the importance of email as a communication channel. In a separate report, the Manifest revealed that for email marketing alone, around 43% of enterprises are poised to spend more this year.
Black hat attacks are frequent in business emails, and it’s not as simple as a person hacking for the pure challenge of it. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report in 2019, 39% of attacks were expected to be made by organized criminal groups. Malware, which is commonly attached to email, contributes to 28% of the total data breaches in cybersecurity.
With these numbers, suffice it to say that email security needs to be prioritized, or you might become the next victim of a cyberattack.
What is Email Security?
Email Security is an umbrella term for various actions and techniques that aims to secure any email service. It ensures that the email owner is entirely in control of the account, including user access and content.
In a personal sense, email security applies to using regularly changed and strong passwords, spam filters and antispam software. It is a broad concept that follows the goal of protecting this communication channel so that information stays between the sender and receiver.
Businesses typically employ a dedicated service provider for email security to ensure that they are always protected from malicious attacks. Some of their services include email encryption and digital signature, firewall protection and a robust spam filtering via software to weed out harmful and unsolicited emails.
Here are some of the email protection methods that fall under email security for business:
- Login security. Administrators set up additional authentication methods like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or OTP.
- Spam filtering. Automating filters to distinguish legitimate emails from spam is a technique in email security. Service providers run spear-phishing preventive technology, so harmful emails are quarantined.
- Email encryption. Encrypted emails block unauthorized access and data breach. Email clients apply transport-level encryption (STARTTLS) or end-to-end encryption (emails cannot be opened in transit by email clients, i.e., Gmail)
- Employee education. Employees are made aware of the basics in email security and taught how to use the right technologies to protect themselves and the company against malware attacks.
3 Types of Email Security Threats
To uphold email security, you must understand what constitutes a threat to the platform and how they are acted upon by black hat attackers. Decision-makers should be aware of these three major threats and how to prevent them.
Pretexting is a tactic used by bad actors to acquire login and authentication information. They may use the email to contact a staff member and simply ask for data to complete a specific task. These attackers may claim to be affiliated with the company’s internet service provider (ISP) and ask for details to complete a troubleshooting process.
Employees need to consult the administration or the IT officer before taking any action or handing out any information. It is also safer to decline informational requests since login data should be held securely at all times.
Baiting happens when an attacker lures users with offers of utility tools and other computer applications but instead sends a malicious program via email. It is an old social engineering tactic that plays on the interest of a user, while hiding a malicious program underneath it.
Employees need to be reminded to execute vigilance and critical thinking when dealing with baiting emails. If the email content is too good to be true, it’s probably a malicious attack in disguise.
Phishing emails are the trickiest type of threat in email security because it looks no different than any legitimate emails sent and received daily. This type of email may seem like it comes officially from a trustworthy company asking the user to click the link to update information. It usually has an urgent tone, claiming that an account has been compromised and needs immediate action. Phishing is a severe attack and can incur substantial financial losses if the attack becomes successful. For any business, having an ISP that uses advanced technologies in email security like high-level encryption and robust firewall is a must to protect the organization’s sensitive data that may impact customer trust, reputation, and market share.
Make Email Security Your Top Priority
As a general rule, it is best to always have an “assume breach” mentality by being skeptical about claims from unknown sources. The workforce, no matter the size, must always be made aware of the threats that make emails vulnerable to attacks. Any strategy in email security is ineffective unless the users are informed about what to do and how to respond to any cyber crisis.
It is, therefore, vital for any organization to protect emails and other channels that are vulnerable to phishing, hacking and other malicious threats.
At NST IT Solutions, we offer comprehensive services that block email threats before, during and after attacks. Working with leading cloud-based email management products, our services include security, archiving, continuity and email signature, and disclaimer support. Contact us today to how your business can benefit from these services!