We all know what emails are. But do we actual think about or care about the email security that much?
As an avid computer user, you should, by now, own at least one email address. Perhaps you have more, who knows? But have you ever though of the level of security you enjoy with those email addresses?
Why email security is necessary
Email is one of the most popular mediums for communication within an organization/business. This is exactly why it’s also the most popular medium for spreading of malware, spam and phising attacks.
And this very statement rings so true in our world today. With all types of hackers out there, who knows when your emails may be targeted next?!
Email security plays a vital roll in keeping your sensitive information in email communications secure against attacks. When email data does not stay confidential, it can cause major damage, not only to your reputation, but also to the company.
Just recently Microsoft revealed that hackers accessed some Outlook.com email accounts. Even though Microsoft takes data protection very seriously, from time to time, they are also vulnerable to hacks.
See the Microsoft Statement here
Email security describes various techniques for keeping your sensitive information in email communication and accounts secure against unauthorized access, loss or compromise.
Three reasons why it’s important to constantly upgrade your email security;
When was the last time you evaluated your email security? For organizations that host their email systems internally, they trust the security already in place. For individuals that get to have access to different free email platforms, they trust in the security already in place by the hosting company (i.e. gmail, yahoo, live etc.)
But truth be told; security breaches continues to happen each year, despite email security solutions designed to block these threats. Did you know most of these threats are delivered via email?
Constantly upgrading or evaluating your email security is an ongoing process, and these three reasons lay a basic foundation of why it’s so important;
- Email is the most common IT security threat for organizations
- Email-based attacks affect the entire organization
- Email-based threats are evolving and increasing, putting many organizations at risk every year.
Attackers use deceptive messages to entice recipients to disclose sensitive information, open attachments or click on hyperlinks that install malware on the victim’s device. And yes! Attackers make use of email as a common entry vector; they want to get a foothold in an organization/business network and breach valuable company data.
Three types of email security threats;
It’s important for decision makers within organizations/businesses to be aware of the major threats related to email security and the best way to avoid vulnerabilities.
Herewith three of the most common types of attacks that your organization should keep an eye out for;
Baiting:Like a spider attracts their prey, so these baiting emails are designed to lure a user in by promising something different than what is delivered. The mail goal is to encourage a user to click on downloadable links or open attachments.
Phising:These are extremely legitimate looking emails, such as emails from your local bank or organization. An email may appear to be from Google or another trustworthy company and will often request that the user click on a link in order to log in and update their information. Essentially these emails fish for your information through creating a sense of urgency around the issue involved (i.e. Your bank account has been compromised.)
Pre-texting:Pre-texting is a social engineering tactic. It’s used to get privileged information such as login and authentication data. An attacker may contact a user/employee and state they need specific information to complete a task. For instance, the attacker may claim to be with Microsoft and they require some information before they can assist you with troubleshooting your Microsoft problem (even though there is NO PROBLEM what so ever).
Read more on the MICROSOFT SCAM HERE
Unsolicited messages that are sent in bulk can end up in your email inbox. Spam emails are junk emails that is ubiquitous, unavoidable and repetitive.
Most spam emails are just plain irritating and time-consuming, but some spam emails are positively dangerous to handle. Email scams are usually trying to get your bank details so that fraudsters can either withdraw money, or steal your identity.
Yes, this is a serious cyber business. But luckily there are numerous ways to counter this. Here are some excellent ways to counter spam emails that make their way to your inbox;
- Sharing is Caring; In most cases anyway. But when it comes to your email address, please be mindful of where and how you share your email address with the world. Spammers are roaming the internet for email addresses on a daily basis. So if you have shared your email address, be particularly careful for unsolicited, unexpected or suspicious emails. Best practice: DON’T OPEN THEM, but if you do – DON’T CLICK ON ANYTHING!
- Delete & forget; It’s good to get the spam emails out of your inbox. So deleting them is not all that bad of an option. But PLEASE REPORT IT to your email provider. This will allow them (your service provider) to take action against offender’s, and in turn protect your precious information better.
- Use SPAM FILTERS: Spam filter software allows each email to be filtered (scanned) before sending them either to the inbox or trash/junk folder. Yep! There is actually tiny little bots (software) specifically designed for this purpose. The best spam filters uses a combination of techniques that filter and sort out the content you receive.
- Keep Security software up to date: Last but definitely not least! PLEASE KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UP TO DATE. Even the best spam filters won’t catch everything every time. Since attackers constantly work on outsmarting the prevailing technology, you need to keep your security software and tools up to date AT ALL TIMES!
Best Email Security Solution
Having the best email security solution is not one particular security software/program, but rather a wide range of active security softwares.
Some of the things to take into consideration when trying to secure your emails;
- Incoming and Outgoing Email Filters: Organize your emails according to specific criteria’s through anti-spam techniques.
- Email Anti-Virus Scanning: Email security solutions need to be adept at blocking viruses and malware.
- Secure Email Gateways; Ensure that you have an organization that monitors your inbound and outbound email traffic for unwanted or malicious emails. These software blocks or quarantine malware phishing attacks, and spam as their core functionality. You are also able to get data loss prevention (DLP) and/or email encryption capabilities for outbound emails for these security software providers.
So, the most important thing for you or your organization is to ensure that your email security solutions are in place.
The safety of your information is of utmost importance and I believe this is one of the main reasons why having a free email account is frowned upon in the business place.