A Guide to Email Security
Email scams cost businesses $20.5 billion every year. How confident are you in your business’s email security? Read this guide to learn more about how to tighten up your email security and prevent scams.
What Is Email Security?
Email security is a general term that describes all of the different techniques and procedures that protect email accounts and content. While cybersecurity consultants specialize in email security services, there are steps you can take on your own to secure your company and prevent scams.
Why Is Email Security Important?
85% of all organizations were targeted by phishing scams in 2021. These phishing attacks cost companies thousands of dollars and dozens of hours. Many business owners fail to realize that email attacks target more than the content of emails—these attacks often invade your larger network. If hackers get network access, anything from your bank routing numbers to proprietary company information is in danger.
Your business is likely being targeted by hackers right now—investing in email security is critical to protecting its future.
Common Email Scams and How To Avoid Them
We’ve outlined common email threats here so you can better identify dangerous emails. However, hackers are constantly developing advanced threats that go beyond what’s listed here. Despite that, these common scams are still frequently used today:
Spam is the most widespread form of email scam. Spam is generally seen as more of an annoyance than a threat, though it can be easy to fall for if you let your guard down. A classic example of spam comes from hackers who falsely represent organizations. They usually promise rewards like gift cards or special discounts to entice the reader into clicking on dangerous links or content. Never interact with content from an email unless you’re 100% confident in the sender’s identity.
Phishing is an email scam that requests money or access to valuable personal information, especially as it relates to your finances. Spear phishing is an especially dangerous form of phishing. These phishing attacks often impersonate friends or organizations you’re affiliated with to appear trustworthy and gain sensitive information. They can even target B2B companies by pretending to be a business partner or associate claiming to have missed an invoice or payment.
Social engineering scams are a new development in the email security sphere. These scams are any form of persuasion that misleads people into clicking on a malicious attachment. This is an effective method because of how innocuous it seems—these scams rarely have a clear objective or demand.
An example of a social engineering scam could come from a hacker pretending to be a friend or coworker sending a news article, entertaining video, or other kind of link that seems harmless. Social engineering scams account for approximately 25% of all successful email scams.
Malware is an especially dangerous type of scam. It’s an email attachment designed to attack your computer system. These attacks destroy or encrypt valuable files or even your entire operating system. A specific kind of malware called a Trojan can be especially dangerous. Trojans give a cybercriminal full control over your machine, including components like the webcam or fan speeds.
Malware distributors may promise to restore your computer if you pay a ransom in cryptocurrency—never do this! If your device is infected with malware, partner with a cybersecurity consultant. Malware distributors will take as much money as they can from you.
How To Improve Your Company’s Email Security
Email scams have clearly evolved since the early days of the Nigerian prince scam. Now that we better understand common email scams and how to identify them, what steps can you take to improve your company’s email security? Here are some simple email security solutions:
Establish Email Security Protocols
Email security protocols keep your organization secure by making sure employees are following the necessary best practices. The three most common types of protocol include:
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF): An SPF protocol locates and blocks spoof emails. This protocol automatically checks the origins of all senders in your business’s network, cutting down on dangerous messages.
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): DKIM serves a similar purpose to SPF but instead checks the domain of all emails using public and private keys. DKIM makes sure that all emails are safe and travel without interference.
- Domain-Based Message Authentication (DMARC): DMARC is a blend of the two other protocols, as it uses domains and recipient identities.
Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Hackers are becoming increasingly skilled at breaking passwords. Two-factor authentication is a straightforward way of boosting your email protection. This solution requires users to verify their identities with their password plus another form of identifying information before being allowed to log in; typically this is a code sent to their mobile device.
Enable Email Encryption
Encryption scrambles messages until the sender’s identity is authenticated by the recipient. Common email platforms like Microsoft 365 and Gmail offer this solution. Email encryption is an easy and effective method of protecting the content of your business’s emails.
Partner With an Email Security Services Provider
Hackers’ schemes get more elaborate every day. If you want to guarantee your information security, partner with a cybersecurity consultant. 60% of small businesses close their doors within six months of a cyberattack. Keep your business running by partnering with Virtual-Q. Our managed cybersecurity services are backed by our accredited team. Best of all, we offer complimentary email security assessments where we analyze the security of your business’s email. Contact us today.
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