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Brand Spoofing in Financial Institutions (Part 2): Authentication and Identity Verification

Brand Spoofing in Financial Institutions (Part 2): Authentication and Identity Verification

According to one study, 91% of all attacks start with a spear phishing email. Why do scammers always use emails to carry out their attacks? If emails are the most vulnerable link, is there anything we can do to change it?

In our previous blog, we discussed some of the most common real-life brand spoofing situations that most financial institutions experience. In this blog, we will focus on the importance of authentication and identity verification to protect ourselves and our emails from scammers.

Email authentication significantly reduces the chances of users falling for scams, as users will be able to know if the sender is who they claim to be.

Email authentication and identity verification in financial institutions

Financial institutions take security very seriously. Banks use vaults to secure cash, but what do they do about digital money? As we increasingly use online banking to send and receive finances, financial institutions understand the heavy reliance on their security protocols to keep hackers at bay. They use multi-factor authentication among other methods to keep digital money secure. But even then, some hackers use brand spoofing and email phishing techniques to sidestep these authentication methods.

Financial institutions have to constantly ensure that both employees and customers are protected, as well as find solutions that mitigate damages and financial losses caused by scams and fraud. As preventive methods, financial institutions are always rolling out warnings and announcements reminding employees and clients alike to always stay vigilant.

Aside from taking precautionary steps to fight against scammers, financial institutions are also in need of an efficient tool to protect the channel where they, along with their clients, are largely targeted: emails. And this is where email security solutions really take the limelight.

Secure Email: Authentication and identity verification in one

For financial institutions, good threat intelligence and security awareness alongside email security solutions like S/MIME make the most difference when fighting against email scams.

S/MIME combines authentication and identity verification in one solution. If this is your first time hearing about S/MIME, it is essentially a technology that uses encryption and digital certificates to protect your emails and authenticate their contents and prove the identity of the sender. When you use S/MIME when sending out emails, the email communication platform or channel will recognize the digital certificate used and let the recipient know that your identity is legitimate. This is what makes S/MIME so useful as a tool against scammers. By using S/MIME, clients can trust your email and at the same time reduce their chance of falling for a scam.

Essentially, S/MIME provides the following benefits:

  • Tie the sender’s third-party-verified identity to the email
  • Sender’s identity is clearly presented to the recipient to help differentiate from spoofed emails
  • Supports non-repudiation
  • Prevent any changes to email contents after it has been sent
  • End-to-end encryption

With new ways to protect your employees and clients from innovative phishing scams and techniques, GlobalSign is working tirelessly to provide solutions to help companies stay ahead of scammers. By tapping on the powerful features of S/MIME, financial institutions can prove their identity to their clients and secure the content of their emails at the same time. When you want your identity to be trusted in emails, the best way to do this is through S/MIME.


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