Do you know that more than 90 per cent of cyber attacks on businesses and organizations start with a malicious or phishing email? As a result, businesses relying only on built-in security measures are at a higher risk of cyberattacks. This is why businesses should focus more on their email security.
Unfortunately, several businesses fail to understand the significance of email security until they become victims of a cyberattack. This is why businesses need to understand why email security is important. If you want to prevent cyberattacks through email, then you should adopt a few security measures.
Understanding the Importance of Email Security
As mentioned earlier, cyber-attacks often target businesses through email and other channels. For instance, phishing emails may trick internet users into sharing sensitive information, download malware that can infect their device or network, and approve fake invoices.
If a hacker or cybercriminal has compromised your email account, then the attacker will be able to send phishing emails to all your contacts posing as you. Most of your contacts who trust you will surely open your email, allowing the user to gain control of their email accounts.
Most cybersecurity threats that compromise the email accounts of an organization or internet users can be prevented through basic security measures. To ensure better email security, businesses must know about common email security threats.
It might come as a huge surprise to several businesses when they hear that the number of fake emails sent out in a day as part of phishing scams is estimated to be around 3.4 billion.
It is also important to note phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated over the last few years. This means that cybercriminals have got better at tricking businesses and users.
Spear Phishing Attacks
This is a certain type of highly customized phishing attack, which targets a specific organization or individual. Spear phishing attacks often mimic the style and tone of the official communications of an organization.
In addition, these attacks may use the logo and letterhead of an organization to make the email look authentic. Spear phishing attacks are very dangerous, as they are capable of tricking knowledgeable and experienced individuals too.
Other Email Security Threats
Some cyber attackers may hijack email accounts simply by guessing the passwords. As a result, users and organizations who use easy-to-guess and weak passwords are at a greater risk of cyberattacks.
Most phishing attacks contain attachments or links, which are often primed with malware. Users who download such attachments or click links will most likely become a victim of cyberattacks.
Fortunately, there are several simple but effective steps that both organizations and individuals can take to increase email security. Here are a few tips on how you can improve email security.
Set Strong Password
Most employees and business owners are well aware of the fact that they should use strong passwords. Still, several employees continue to opt for easy-to-guess and weak passwords. An analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre revealed several accounts that used the widely common password “123456” suffered breaches.
This makes it clear that accounts with weak passwords are most likely to get hacked. As a result, business owners should use strong passwords and advise employees to use strong passwords with a minimum of eight characters. You could also offer password management tools to employees to better track passwords and create new ones.
DMARC, SPF, and other email authentication technologies offer an additional layer of protection by helping businesses prevent email spoofing. For example, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) does an excellent job of restricting who will send emails from business domains.
On the other hand, DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) offers direction to recipient organizations on what they should do when a message has not been properly authenticated. This allows businesses to decide whether they should quarantine or reject the email.
Multi-factor authentication, which is also called two-factor authentication, is another excellent security measure that can ensure higher email security. This security process requests users to share two different authentication factors (password and a unique passcode created by a mobile app).
If a hacker or cyber attacker manages to obtain your password, then he or she won’t be able to gain access to your account if you have enabled two-factor authentication. This is because the hacker will not get the unique passcode, which will be generated by the mobile application.
In simple words, two-factor authentication is a type of security control or measure that considerably reduces the chances of your account being compromised when your username or password is stolen.
Use Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
If you are using an SSL or TLS certificate on your websites, then it will guarantee that the emails sent between your device and your SMTP service are secure. However, you will need to ensure that your SMTP service is capable of encrypting emails properly by installing an SSL certificate.
Using an SSL certificate allows you to make sure that the email sent between the mail server of the recipient and your SMTP service will be encrypted. This means that the mail server of the recipient should be able to support TLS or SSL.
Remove Phishing and SPAM emails
Businesses will be able to cut down the number of phishing and spam emails that they are receiving by using DKIM ( Domain Keys identified Mail). DKIM can be defined as an email authentication technique that allows email recipients to verify that the message they have received has not been tampered with by anyone.
Email recipients will be also able to ensure that the email is coming exactly from the domain it claims to be. Businesses that are implementing the DKIM standard will be able to boost email deliverability.
It is unfortunate that several businesses still tend to overlook email security and do not take it seriously. However, if you want to ensure the safety of confidential data and stay away from cyberattacks, you need to ensure you have the right email security measures in place.
If you do not know where to get started, then you can start by following the email security measures listed above. They will not cost you a considerable amount of time or money, but they will still guarantee higher email security.