Not to write off how prominent instant messaging apps and social media are trending, but email still remains the most renowned medium for formal communication, particularly among businesses.
As a result, the email system is extremely vulnerable to cyber threats. Email is also the ideal delivery platform for any and most types of cyberattacks; it offers a means capable of delivering almost any type of threat to almost any target.
Hackers use email to deliver malicious software to end users. Even when filters detect possibly malicious files, attackers can still use time-tested social engineering techniques to persuade victims to act against their own interests.
Email threats are malicious activities carried out via email. These threats encompass a wide range of activities used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to systems, steal data, or engage in other malicious activities.
Since email has been the most popular end-user network application for years, it’s no wonder that attackers have concentrated their efforts on exploiting email security flaws.
While attack techniques have evolved significantly over time, security teams have long acknowledged the essentials of email security threats.
Types of email threats
Malware Distribution through Spam
Malware is among the most significant, yet prevalent, threats that can be delivered via email. This method is particularly effective at targeting employees within companies.
Victims are easily misled into downloading malicious files containing malware by sending spam mail impersonating legitimate senders such as clients, partners, or suppliers.
Most victims are unaware that they are installing malware on their computers because indications of intrusion do not appear immediately.
Phishing Emails Leading to Credential Theft
Phishing emails are also spam, but apart from that, they are more personalized and are frequently used to trick victims into directly providing confidential information.
For instance, attackers could obtain a list of consumer information from a financial institution, potentially obtained through a previous data breach.
Customers’ names, email addresses, bank account numbers, and possibly other personal information may be included on the list.
Business email compromise
Business email compromise (BEC) is a highly advanced type of spear phishing that attacks high-ranking employees at the targeted firm, and is thus also known as “CEO fraud.”
Compared to other phishing threats, attackers in this email threat spend a chunk of time studying the victim’s behaviors, while gathering data from their recent social media activities.
Email Server Authentication Attacks
Attackers may occasionally target the email inbox itself. In this instance, attackers would attempt to release authentication attacks on email servers by employing extreme strength, credential stuffing, and other methods to bypass authentication and obtain access to the email server.
This would give the attackers access to all the server’s email messages and attachments.
Email Server Flaws
A compromise of the email server is a disastrous event, not only because email messages are exposed, but additionally because attackers are able to infect nearby IT systems by traveling through the internal network.
How do you avoid them?
Email threats can be a serious concern for both individuals and businesses, as they can result in identity theft, financial loss, and malware infections. Here are some pointers to avoid email threats:
When opening emails from unknown senders or emails that appear suspicious, proceed with caution. Keep an eye out for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as unusual or unexpected requests.
Clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails is not recommended because they may contain malware or viruses. Before clicking on a link, always hover your mouse over it to see the URL.
Maintain the most recent versions of your operating system and antivirus software. This can help prevent malware infections and keep your computer safe from the most recent threats.
To prevent unauthorized access, use a strong password and enable two-factor authentication for your email accounts.
Be wary of emails requesting personal information, such as your credit card number or social security number. Legitimate organizations do not usually request such information via email.
To reduce the number of potentially harmful messages you receive, use a spam filter to automatically filter out suspicious emails.
Educate yourself and others on common email threats and safe online practices. Stay current on security trends and take the necessary precautions to safeguard your email accounts and personal information.
By following these guidelines, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of email threats and protect yourself and your organization from harm.
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates.