A wave of ransomware and cyberattacks has recently left many businesses and individuals compromised. These attacks have crippled and destroyed critical data and caused devastating financial losses to companies and individuals.
Securing emails sounds easy, but we find that many companies continue to be victimized by various phishing tactics. Emails have become the main method of communication across many organizations. We use it every day that we sometimes overestimate our ability to spot phishing scams and underestimate the attackers’ ability to victimize us.
Phishing Scams on The Rise
Phishing is a social engineering tactic that tricks people into taking an action towards emails and messaging services. The consequences of falling for these lures are enormous.
While some cybercriminals do not know who will fall victim to the numerous phishing emails they send, some take the time and effort to study a company or victim to seem more convincing. This type of attack is what is known as Business Email Compromise (BEC), wherein the attackers target specific users and will use social engineering and human vulnerability to gain access to sensitive data and information, of both users and organizations. Like a good lure, it is crafted to look authentic and come from high-level executives, CEOs, or managers in the HR or finance departments.
Many risks surround the email platform, so how exactly can we keep our emails secure against attacks and getting our accounts breached?
Improving Security Against Email Attacks
In social engineering, hackers rely heavily on people’s tendency to oversee objective thinking when faced with some sense of urgency. The first step to protecting your emails against attacks is awareness. Being able to know what to look for is vital in protecting your data. To avoid falling victim, advise employees not to hurry and jump on every link and attachment. Before following an order, especially those that require money transfer and sharing of critical data, make sure that the sender is legitimate.
Cybercriminals always spoof emails with a forged sender address to make them seem legitimate. Let employees know that the next time they receive an email from a CEO or a high-level executive, have one of the IT staff confirm if the email is credible. Always be skeptical of messages that are unexpected.
Aside from user awareness, businesses can utilize a solution for securing emails and its contents. S/MIME, or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions is digital solution that ensures emails are digitally signed and encrypted. By adding this layer of security, two things are achieved:
- Emails are digitally signed to verify the origin of emails and sender’s identity, and
- Emails are encrypted to prevent any third party from gaining access to its content.
Mitigate Phishing and Spoof Emails
As mentioned earlier, sending emails from a forged sender address, called email spoofing, is one of the most popular methods for carrying out a phishing attack. Digitally signing emails through S/MIME counters this threat by clearly presenting the email sender’s verified identity information. Email recipients can be sure that the email came from a legitimate, verified source and not a spoofed address. By digitally signing your emails through S/MIME, it is easier to filter out the fake emails who claim to be a company’s CEO or CFO. There is more chance to have your emails trusted, and less opportunity for cybercriminals to victimize your employees.
Prevent Data Loss and Leaks
Since encrypted emails can only be decrypted by the intended recipient when using S/MIME, you can make sure that no one else can read its contents. In the case of outsider access to a company’s mail server, the contents of an encrypted email remain secure, and its contents cannot be obtained by a third-party user in transit.
S/MIME is more than just email encryption. You can be sure that you will be kept protected from cyber criminals preying on organizations through digital signatures that ensures sender legitimacy and authenticity, as well as the encryption it provides.
GlobalSign offers comprehensive certificate management such as S/MIME for email encryption and added safety to protect emails from unwanted access. Our point-to-point message encryption is also compatible with many popular enterprise email clients. You can request for a demo here!
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