Global business is diverse with a vast array of verticals and industries, yet united by a single channel of communication: email. Choosing the right email security solution can give you a competitive edge. Email is used within every organization for internal and external communication. Although email provides ease with which to collaborate, it also poses a great risk.
Email security defines any process that protects email content and accounts against unauthorized access. Email security has improved over the years, but it is still far from completely secure. Due to its popularity, email has become one of the most common attack vectors for cybercriminals. Phishing, social engineering, and brand impersonation attacks are common approaches hackers use to infiltrate an organization’s environment.
Email vulnerability has increased due to the complexity of COVID which has forced many employees into a WFH (Working From Home) situation. The attempt by organizations to safeguard employee health has opened the door for threat-actors to attempt to hack employees’ unsecured personal environments.
Email threats in the digital era
Cybercriminals use email to communicate with employees and get them to take some sort of action or reveal information. With the range of different attacks listed below, hackers have many opportunities to steal data, solicit private information, and disrupt normal business operations.
Email spoofing is when the email domain from where the email is sent is disguised to the organization’s domain. A hacker can send a direct message to an employee from a domain that looks like his boss’s address. If the user isn’t vigilant, they can easily assume the disguised email address is their boss’s address. This means that the hacker has the authority and can influence the employee’s behavior.
Social engineering is a type of attack where an employee is influenced into taking an action by a sophisticated hacker. Recently, an AI-driven machine scraped an organization’s head of Marketing’s social media, personal, and work-based emails. With this information, the machine was able to create a near-perfect replicate of her writing style. The perfectly written text combined with a spoofed email domain was able to successfully solicit private information from her employees.
Phishing is one of the most common threats in email. Phishing is when a user is directed to a fake link that is disguised as legitimate. If an employee receives a spoofed email from their “bank” that asks for their credit card details, they might be inclined to give that information. Most phishing attacks are disguised as genuine links and once a user clicks the bait, they are taken to a near-perfect replica of the bank’s website. The user is tricked into divulging personal, financial, or business information.
Spear phishing is like its phishing counterpart, but a lot more lethal. Similar to a phishing attempt, spear-phishing aims to solicit confidential information by masquerading as a trusted entity. The difference is that spear phishing is a highly targeted attack that focuses on a specific individual or department within an organization. We have found that C-suite and finance departments are usually targets for this type of attack.
Pretexting is where a hacker fabricates a situation to encourage the victim to provide sensitive information. For instance, the hacker may send an email masquerading as a trusted entity, like someone from their IT department, to trick the victim into sharing SaaS login credentials. With those logins, the hacker can access sensitive information on the cloud.
Quid pro quo attacks make use of our social psychology of giving after we have received. Quid pro quo is when an attacker requests private information from a user in exchange for some type of compensation. This compensation is usually disguised as a gift. The rule of thumb is: “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
The above threats can easily by-pass certain security solutions. To enhance your email security and ensure end-to-end protection, Cisco Umbrella should be your preferred choice.
The best email security solution
Cisco Umbrella is the best of breed email security solution that provides an additional security layer to your organization. Umbrella authenticates traffic data against millions of known malicious websites, botnets, and unsafe connections. This additional email security layer can effectively protect against phishing attacks and attempts to access unsafe or inappropriate websites.
Umbrella has three stages of securing your organization.
By leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) it can uncover current and emerging threats. It can identify malicious websites by learning from 80+ billion daily internet activity patterns. Using statistical modeling, it can discover, classify, and even predict the callback destinations and stop fast-moving threat-actors.
Umbrella can give you unprecedented visibility across your entire digital landscape and gives your administrators flexibility in configuring the solution. By using 60 content category filters your team can get real-time insights into user activity. It gives you visibility and control across all devices, ports, and cloud services.
Umbrella provides an additional layer of defense that proactively protects against identity theft, malware, and viruses. It can reduce downtime in a DDoS attack and effectively protects your computers against hijacking and ransomware attacks.
Cisco’s Umbrella solution is a flexible, fast, and effective cloud-delivered security solution. It combines multiple security functions into one solution, enabling you to protect devices, remote users, and distributed locations anywhere. Cisco is an American multinational technology organization headquartered in San Jose, California. Cisco is known for developing and manufacturing hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment.
Contact RSI today to learn how Umbrella can significantly boost your Cybersecurity defenses, ultimately keeping you and your business safe.
Email security best practice
Email is one of the most vulnerable assets within your organization because of human error. Human beings account for 90% of all email security breaches. Therefore, to effectively protect your email environment, you need to ensure your organization has effective email security policies. Below are our 7 best practices to protect your email environment.
- Prohibit personal use of company emails
Do not bring your personal life to work. By limiting communications to only work conversations, many suspicious emails and attachments will be easy to recognize. If the email doesn’t come from a colleague or client, you know not to open it.
- Use unbeatable passwords
Believe it or not, qwerty is not an effective password. One of the simplest and most powerful protection tools is an unbeatable password. We recommend using a 10-character password with a variation of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Implement two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication ensures that hackers cannot phish your accounts as easily. Having a two-factor solution in place makes it twice as hard for the hacker to infiltrate and steal confidential information.
- Don’t open unknown attachments
Email security 101; do not open any attachments from unknown sources. By clicking an unsafe attachment, you will initiate the malware virus onto your device. If you don’t know the sender, don’t click the attachment.
- Don’t work on public wifi:
When you connect to a public WiFi all the sensitive information on your computer is vulnerable to others connected to the same network. This makes your email inbox a target for nearby cybercriminals.
- Educate your employees
Human error accounts for most of the security breaches. For your environment to be secure, you need all your employees to follow email security best practices. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
- Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
SSL can result in your emails being sent securely between your computer and your SMTP service. It is an additional security layer that protects your organization from unwanted outside threats.
To gain a competitive edge, you need to ensure that your business’s single most important channel of communication is protected. At RSI Security we can help you choose the right email security solution for your organization’s needs. Combining email security best practice with Cisco’s Umbrella advanced internet filter, you can rest easy at night knowing your environment is protected. Deploying Umbrella is a cost-effective solution but requires optimization and optimal deployment methodology for maximum effectiveness. Contact RSI for a free, no-obligation consultation on how Umbrella can be implemented for proactive phishing protection.