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Email security: What you need to know and best practices

 Alongside phone calls, email is probably one of the most used and longest-standing modern communication methods, especially for businesses.

 

Whether accessed at home or at work, the majority of us write and receive emails daily, to communicate with one another, convey important information, and transfer files.

With so much information being delivered via email, it is no surprise that emails and email accounts are extremely vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals..

 

Email security services help to protect you from malicious emails, and secure information transferred across your emails, preventing attacks that could result in costly damages. 

 

Why do you need email security services?  

If your company is in one of the 95% of businesses that uses email as their main communication method, email security services could help to protect your system from being infiltrated by threats carried in inbound emails, and protect your valuable information that is sent in outbound emails.

 

Do not underestimate the threats carried in email cyber attacks: even the smallest gap in email security could allow a cyber attack to weasel its way onto devices, completely disrupting and shutting down entire businesses.

 

Email security services work to identify email threats and prevent malicious attacks from taking place, as well as ensuring confidentiality between contacts.

 

A secure email gateway will defend against email attacks with a multi-layered approach to threat protection. 

 

 


 

READ MORE: What Is Ransomware?

 


 

 

Different threats to email security  

Email accounts are constantly vulnerable to threats to cyber security and cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their methods of attack.

 

Cyber attackers sometimes use false emails to deceive their victims into handing over sensitive data, whether through spam and phishing attacks, business email compromise (BEC), or spoofing.

 

All it takes is for one email to be opened, confidential information to be unknowingly sent to a deceptive phishing email, or a link to be clicked, and cybercriminals could cause complete chaos.  

 

Phishing, Spear-phishing, and Whaling  

Phishing attacks are perhaps the most common of all threats to cyber security. Using deceptive email content, phishing emails cheat their victims into entering classified information, such as bank details or passwords, that could cause significant damage to the individual or company.

 

Phishing emails also sometimes carry click-through links or files which, once clicked on, could contain malware (malicious software) or ransomware (a type of malicious software that holds your information at ransom). 

 

Spear phishing, which is a branch of phishing, is an extremely targeted email attack, pinpointing specific victims, either individually or within a business.  

 

Whaling, a type of spear phishing, specifically seeks out victims of high net worth.  

 

In a company, any kind of phishing email is extremely dangerous and can be detrimental as passwords or sensitive information is unintentionally given up.

 

Email security services can help to identify malicious emails before they cause significant damage. 

 

Business Email Compromise (BEC) and Spoofing  

If there is a loophole in your email security, individuals in your company may be vulnerable to business email compromise or spoofing. 

 

Spoofing emails forge an email that appears to be from either an anonymous source or a known email account, such as a colleague. 

 

With business email compromise, hackers either impersonate or steal the identity of an employee in the company, using their email to coax out information from other employees. 

 

 

Best Practices for Email Security  

Whilst employing an email security system will give you the reassurance of a line of defense against email cybercriminals, there are also some practices that you can also adapt yourself to avoid email threats, such as: 

  1. Checking all email elements - sender, subject & other to verify the source 
  2. Change passwords frequently 
  3. Encrypt all outbound emails 

If the email source is not verified, or you’re not sure about some of the email elements: 

  1. Don’t send your personal data  
  2. Don’t transfer money 
  3. Don’t click unverified links within the email 
  4. Don’t save the attached files  

Firstly, be vigilant when receiving emails, and do not take everything received in your inbox at face value.

 

This includes checking that all elements of the email are correct, ensuring that the email address, company name, and signature all match up exactly.

 

With emails that explicitly ask you to enter any personal data or transfer money, be particularly wary.

 

Though it may not always be possible, it could be wise to verify with another communication method before submitting any information. 

 

Do not click links that are embedded within emails or attached files unless you are certain that the link is from a trustworthy source.

 

Even then, proceed with caution when opening the link and have any files scanned for malware.

  

Ensure that outbound emails are encrypted so that the information you are sending is protected. Discover more about how you can encrypt your emails with Sealit here.  

 

And finally, protect your email account with strong passwords, changing business account passwords frequently to avoid BEC.  

 

 


 

 

 


 

Sign up with Sealit to implement data protection and encryption for your business today.