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Posts Tagged ‘email filtering’

How Email Filtering Prevents Cyberattacks

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Almost every business uses email as a primary communication channel, and as a result, it is a major attack vector for cybercriminals. Every employee’s email account represents a possible risk to your business operations. One way to protect employee accounts is with email filtering tools.

email filtering

The Risks of Email Communications

Email is a necessary business communication tool. However, it also introduces significant risks. A 2019 HIMSS survey found that 70% of breaches originated with a phishing email. It’s unrealistic to stop people from using email, so the next best step is protecting accounts and reducing risk.

Social Engineering Risks

The number one threat to any cybersecurity program is human error. Phishing campaigns are so successful because they prey on human vulnerabilities. Everyone makes mistakes. Even the most cautious people can be caught up in a busy day and accidentally click on a malicious link without adequately vetting the sender.

By stopping these malicious emails from entering the employee’s inbox, there is no chance they will mistakenly click on them. Although phishing training is still essential in case emails get through the system, a good email filtering service will stop most suspicious messages.

What is Email Filtering?

Email filtering tools prevent malicious messages like spam from reaching inboxes. Filtering tools scan the incoming emails for signs of cybercrime- these could include bad links, content used by known spammers, or other indicators. Email filtering stops suspicious emails from being delivered to the intended recipient.

How Email Filtering Works to Stop Spam

There are many ways to filter emails, some of which are more restrictive than others. Every email filtering service is different, so we are speaking in generalities for informative purposes. However, the process works the same way. All incoming emails are scanned to see if they contain any information that violates the filter settings. Traditionally, the filter scans both the email header and the message contents.

The email header contains information about the sender, including their IP address, email domain, sending address, security signatures, and other technical information about how and when the email was sent. Email filters will flag messages sent from suspicious senders and known spammers. Email filters can be so restrictive as to entirely stop incoming emails from external organizations or domains.

Filtering systems also scan email message contents. Phishing schemes rely on unsuspecting users clicking on links to install malware on a user’s computer. Email filtering systems can scan and remove links to known suspicious websites. Organizations can go further and configure their filtering systems to remove all links in emails. This may be too restrictive for some, but it is an option for some filtering tools. In addition,  scanners can flag emails for spammy content. Some commonly flagged messages include overly promotional marketing emails, messages with adult themes, and those that mention illegal activities.

Once the suspicious emails are flagged, then what happens? The settings are often configurable. Some email filtering systems add a banner to the top of scanned messages that alerts the user to any risky-seeming content. However, once users are accustomed to seeing it, they may ignore or not notice the warnings.

The most common solution is to divert flagged emails to quarantine. There, users can review the messages to determine if they are spam or not. Sometimes unsuspecting messages get caught up in filters, and this gives the intended recipient a chance to retrieve wanted messages. For extremely conservative organizations, the system can automatically delete flagged messages and never deliver them to the inbox out of an abundance of caution.

Conclusion

Everyone should be concerned about the rise of cyberattacks and the potential risks to their businesses. Use an email provider that offers sophisticated email filtering services. LuxSci’s Premium Email Filtering is an available add-on to our Secure Email Hosting and Secure Connector solutions.

5 Ways to Prevent Human Impacts on Your Cybersecurity Program

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

There are multiple ways that humans impact cybersecurity and can put data at risk. From being tricked by phishing emails to choosing easily guessed passwords, insider fraud and mistakenly classifying the security level of emails and other content, the actions of your employees can make your data vulnerable.

While the impact of human errors can’t be eliminated entirely, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the effects humans can have on your cybersecurity. Five of these steps are detailed below.

prevent human effects on cybersecurity

1. Adopt an “Opt-out” approach to encryption

At LuxSci, our philosophy is to limit risk by taking basic security choices out of employee hands. Instead of relying on employees to encrypt emails with sensitive contents, we automatically encrypt every message by default. This makes it more difficult for an employee to carelessly send out sensitive emails without the proper safeguards.

Conversely, when taking an opt-in approach to cybersecurity, employees are responsible for remembering to encrypt each email before sending. Anytime an employee forgets to take this step, it represents a potential security breach with all the liability that entails. Adopting an opt-out approach to encryption reduces this risk significantly. While many companies use opt-in processes because of their convenience, they introduce a high degree of risk. LuxSci’s SecureLine encryption technology enables a new generation of email encryption that features both flexibility and security.

2. Implement strict email filtering and network firewalls

Are you familiar with the aphorism “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? By taking steps to prevent malicious threats from reaching your systems and networks, your employees will not have to spend their time trying to figure out what is a threat.

Email filtering

Phishing is one of the greatest threats to cybersecurity. Rather than relying strictly on human judgement with regard to which emails to open, using a sender policy system that filters or flags suspicious incoming emails can appreciably improve cybersecurity. Don’t count on your busy employees to know when an email is suspicious. Instead, use email filtering to keep those emails from even entering their inboxes.

Network firewalls

Firewalls help prevent attackers from gaining easy access to your network. They prevent suspicious connections or messages from connecting to the network or reaching their intended destination. By serving as a first line of defense, a firewall plays a major part in shielding your network from cyberattacks. By preventing external threats from accessing your applications, you don’t need to count on your employees to recognize when something isn’t right.

3. Prevent human impacts on cybersecurity by training staff

Almost every modern workplace relies on internet-connected devices to get work done. However, just training staff to use your technology effectively is not enough. With cyberattacks growing in frequency, keeping your staff aware of the latest cybersecurity threats is essential to protect your business. With data breaches, denial-of-service (DoS), and ransomware attacks accounting for tremendous financial losses, failing to prepare your staff for the danger these attacks pose to your IT operations can be costly.

Your employees can prevent security breaches if they are properly trained in the latest cybersecurity best practices. Some complex security breaches can evade even the best automated security measures. If your staff knows what to look for, they can play a crucial role in augmenting your existing security measures.

In addition, hackers often target employees as their first access point for gaining entry to a network. As a result, restricting cybersecurity training to just the IT department can leave your employees vulnerable to social engineering, phishing emails, and other exploits used by hackers to dupe them.

A cybersecurity training program can help reduce risks by familiarizing employees with the tricks used by hackers to gain access to their accounts. As part of the training program, it’s important to test employees on core concepts to ensure the message is retained.

4. Enforce strong password and access control policies

To reduce the risk of security breaches, a robust password protection program is necessary. One of the key elements is enforcing password complexity. Simple passwords are vulnerable to brute force hacking, enabling hackers to easily access employee accounts.

Requiring staff to use unique, complex passwords makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to an account. A complex password can include multiple types of characters (numbers, letters, capitalization, special characters) and minimum character lengths. Learn more about creating secure passwords in our blog archives.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another key element of a robust security policy. By requiring more than a single action to access an account, you can drastically cut down on security breaches due to lost or stolen passwords. Given that compromised passwords are a significant cause of security breaches, using MFA is a powerful tool for bolstering network security.

In addition, setting up time-based access controls for your sensitive systems can prevent bad actors from gaining unauthorized access. For example, if you have an employee who works a 9am-5pm shift, you can prevent her from accessing the system from 6pm-8am. That way if a bad actor did get her credentials, they would be unable to login when she was offline. This could prevent someone from taking over your systems overnight.

5. Adopt the Zero Trust security stance

What is Zero Trust Architecture? Essentially, it is a policy for guarding against cyberattacks by assuming that every aspect of a network is subject to attack. This includes potential insider threats from employees or attackers who have infiltrated your network. This contrasts with other security approaches that assume that traffic within a network’s security perimeter can automatically be trusted. Instead, Zero Trust Architecture minimizes the security perimeter as much as possible to reduce the chance of a security breach and evaluates the credentials and actions of users at all levels of access to identify any actors inside the network who may pose a threat.

By providing a more granular level of threat detection and limiting access within the network, a Zero Trust security approach is more rigorous than existing security models focused primarily on perimeter security.

ZTA improves security without imposing unduly burdensome requirements. It gives users access to just the minimum level of data and services needed to fulfill their role. This can help stop insider threats from employees. If a lower-level employee with little access to sensitive data has their credentials compromised, it is less threatening to the organization’s data security. The attacker will not be able to penetrate other parts of the network without additional identity verification.

Limiting human impacts on your cybersecurity to decrease risk

Humans can amplify cybersecurity risks in many ways. Between careless mistakes and intentional sabotage, there are a number of things that employees can do to expose your company to cybersecurity risks. The steps listed above comprise a comprehensive set of measures you can take to minimize negative human impacts on cybersecurity. In conjunction with a robust security solution, these measures can significantly enhance your cybersecurity defenses.

Secure your organization by contacting us to find out how to get onboard with LuxSci.

Why the Healthcare Industry is a Target for Cybercrime

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Healthcare data seems mundane- but in the hands of a cybercriminal it can be quite valuable. Medical records contain private information that can be used to blackmail or impersonate others. Even if you aren’t a public figure with a sensitive medical condition, the financial and personal identifiers found in medical records make them a target for cybercrime.

healthcare cybercrime

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Email Identity Protection and LuxSci Email Hosting

Monday, March 9th, 2015

We have just completed a long series of articles discussing how attackers forge email messages and what technologies and techniques can be used to counter these attacks.  See: Email Identity and Forged Email.

In this post, we will discuss some best practices when using LuxSci to maximize your protection against forged email messages.

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Safe Family Email with LuxSci Parental Controls

Monday, January 20th, 2014

LuxSci’s email services are versatile, as well as secure. We offer solutions to many problems and meet a diverse assortment of specialized needs.  One important niche well-served by LuxSci’s flexible and highly configurable system is that of parental control — specifying exactly what email should be sent and received by children and keeping tabs on that email, while not restricting the parent’s (administrator’s) email usage.

This article highlights the many options available to configure an account for parental control.  As each parent’s requirements differ, each parent may wish to choose a different combination of settings.  No problem! LuxSci is infinitely configurable.

You should start by ordering a LuxSci email hosting account with your own domain name (i.e. your-family.com) and Premium Email Filtering.  Once you have a LuxSci email account, and have created users for your family members, you can proceed with the following configuration ideas to make your account family friendly and safe.

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