Email security has vital importance for business continuity and communication. As a result of this importance, these systems have always been the focus of attention of cybercriminals.
When cybercriminals want to gain any unauthorized access to the networks and systems of an organisation, they start to gather information. The more information they can gather about you and your employees, the more effective and successful they can attack.
Among these cyber attacks, social engineering and phishing methods are the most preferred attacks that are carried over emails.
Cybercriminals benefit from e-mails as a tool to gain unauthorized access to the network of the organisations. Their first goal will be gaining access and reading your email traffic. In general, the weakness of the employees of the organisation is exploited to obtain this access.
It is a fact that malicious software is generally used while accessing accounts. Spam, phishing, and identity theft emails can cause sensitive information to be exploited and lead organisations to suffer great material and moral damages.
Carefully created texts that include deceptive messages, threatening messages and emotions that trigger excitement by promising gifts or rewards are used in these attacks.
The sole purpose of these texts is to force the victim, i.e., the employee of the organisation, to make a mistake. In general, this mistake is running malicious files in e-mail attachments or visiting the malicious links available in the email texts.
- 1 Techniques Used in E-mail Attacks
- 2 How to Ensure Email Security as an Individual?
- 3 How to Ensure Email Security as an Organisation?
- 4 3 Tips for Sending Secure Emails
- 5 Use Two-Factor Authentication
- 6 Create a Safelist
- 7 Think Twice Before Sending
Techniques Used in E-mail Attacks
The number of cyber attacks initiated through email attacks is increasing every passing day. Especially careless users who click on a fake link in their e-mails can lead to serious problems for the organisation.
When a user clicks on malicious links or runs a malicious file, cyber attackers can easily gain unauthorized access to their computer. This access can help them to gain access to the network and operational systems of the organisation.
Below, you can find some of the techniques used to trick e-mail users.
Cyber attackers include the links of malicious software while they are sending fake emails to system users. It is worth noting that, these links are generally shortened with the URL (link) shortening services so that the original link will not be visible.
Unfortunately, many organisation employees tend to click on these fake links and cause malicious software to be downloaded to their computers or systems.
Gift and Holiday Promotions
Another technique used by cyber attackers is offering gifts or holiday promotions to employees. In most cases, the deals offered in these promotions are too good to be true.
Employees of the organisations click on these links to get gifts or amazing deals. In general, they need to fill a form, which they provide their full name, an account password, and username.
This phishing technique is one of the most preferred methods due to its high success rate.
Cybercriminals can attach malicious files to the e-mails and then send them to the victims. When victims run the malicious file, cyber attackers can gain access to the computer of the victim.
Later on, they can connect to the other computers on the network and gain unauthorized access to many operational systems and confidential information.
Ransom viruses (ransomware) cause encryption of all files in the computer. Running any malicious file that includes this virus will be enough to be a victim.
After that, the cybercriminals will contact the victim and request ransom to stop the attack. Unfortunately, the decryption of these ransom & crypto algorithms used in these attacks is not possible even with the most advanced technologies.
One of the common security vulnerabilities is misconfigured email services. As a result of these vulnerabilities, the organisations can suffer great losses and will be an easy target for cyber attackers.
Cyber attackers can bypass authentication methods to send emails, use file attachments and send e-mails that impersonate the administrators.
The vulnerabilities of internet browsers can be used in cyber attacks too. These cyber attacks that lead to identity theft, data leak, and connection problems are generally due to outdated versions of the browsers.
By using these vulnerabilities and a small malicious code snippet, cyber attackers can gain access to the relevant computer when the user clicks on a link or downloading a file.
Cyber attackers may aim to disrupt your email traffic with spoof emails. Basically, a spoof email attack is sending thousands of emails to a target system in a very short time.
As a result of this attack, your email account can be suspended by email providers or servers. Your business continuity can be disrupted due to receiving thousands of emails.
In this regard, it is important to optimize your systems by setting the limitations to receive or send emails per minute, hour, or day.
How to Ensure Email Security as an Individual?
Although it is not possible to be sure that the information is a hundred percent secure, there are a few things you can do to stay out of trouble. Below, you can find some of the tips and tricks to improve your email security.
Do Not Open or Reply to Spam or Phishing Emails
More than three percent of the spam e-mails include malware. Although this may seem an unimportant detail, considering the number of spam emails we receive regularly, this means that some of them include malware.
Therefore, you should not open or reply to these emails. Instead, you need to mark these emails as spam.
Be Careful While Clicking on Attachments
It is important to scan the attachment when you receive an email from someone you do not know at all.
More than ninety percent of the computers infected by a virus or malware, receive them through e-mail attachments.
Always Use Secure Passwords
Many studies reveal that most users use weak passwords. However, you need to be really careful while setting a new password and avoid using easy-to-guess passwords.
A strong password consists of at least 10 characters with a combination of lower and upper cases. You also need to include at least one symbol.
Be Careful about Public Wi-Fi
People who often travel check their email over public Wi-Fi. However, they neglect the fact that public Wi-Fi services offer a great opportunity to cyber attackers.
If you have no chance but to connect to public Wi-Fi, make sure that you are going to connect to a real network. You need to pay attention to not connecting a free network that looks very similar to the coffee shop you visit.
In addition to this, you need to make sure that the links start with https: but not http: If your browser shows a warning that there is a security issue, you should avoid using that network.
E-mails are the primary source for data leaks. If you need to share sensitive information with someone, you can prefer other communication methods. If you want to improve your security, you can consider signing up for a VPN, a virtual private network service.
How to Ensure Email Security as an Organisation?
There are many methods to protect your e-mail accounts. One of the best and most effective ways to ensure the security of your e-mail accounts is by working with a cyber security agency. In this regard, MS Cyber Security can offer you what you are looking for.
However, we have also shared some tips and tricks that you may want to know. It will be worth noting that this process should cover employee training and comprehensive security protocols for the organisation.
Here are some of the best practices you can adopt in your organisation to improve the security of your e-mail accounts:
- Provide training for your employees about email security risks and how to avoid exposure to email phishing attacks.
- Require employees to use strong passwords and change their passwords regularly.
- Use email encryption to protect both email content and attachments.
- If your organisation allows employees to access corporate emails on personal devices, make sure that you follow the required security practices.
- Implement a data protection protocol to identify sensitive data and prevent it from being lost via e-mails.
- Benefit from private tools to scan e-mail messages and block emails that contain malicious files before they reach the inbox of your employees.
3 Tips for Sending Secure Emails
Your personal information is valuable, and this is what cyber attackers are looking for. The text, attachment, or photos you are going to send with e-mail may include information that you do not want to share with everyone.
You may not be keeping important secrets, but this does not mean that everyone should access them. Thus, you need to pay for a few things to ensure the security of your emails before sending them.
Below, you are going to find three simple yet effective tips to follow while sending emails.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Have you ever been a victim of a cyber attack or hacked? If so, you may already know that this can happen to anyone no matter how careful you will be. However, if you improve these security measures a bit, you can feel more secure.
Preferring email providers that support two-factor authentication can do wonders. These services send a code to your smartphone to access your inbox. If security matters a lot for you, we highly recommend using two-factor authentication.
Create a Safelist
Create a safelist for your emails. This safelist can consist of people you know such as your friends, children, attorney, accountant, or doctor. Most email providers allow you to group emails depending on the senders or receivers.
It is always better to use your personal email while contacting these people.
Think Twice Before Sending
You do not have to encrypt everything when you are going to send an email. If you wonder whether your email required encryption, you can ask yourself questions such as:
Does the e-mail include anything valuable such as passwords, bank account information? Are you going to send sensitive information? Is your text sensitive enough to have an expiration date?
If the answer to any of these questions or similar ones is yes, then you can use an e-mail encryption tool to protect your message.
As MS Cyber Security, we can provide the required and up-to-date training to your employees to increase their awareness about possible threats. We can also improve your overall protection levels while helping you to create corporate policies for e-mail security and protection.
You can always contact us to get detailed information about email security and request a free quote. Our customer representatives will be happy to serve you and provide the guidance or consultancy you need to improve the cyber security of your organisation.