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Posts Tagged ‘how to keep email secure’

How to Know if an Email is a Phishing Scam or Not

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Phishing scams are a major threat to all email users, especially businesses. The scary part is that they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated. Phishing emails popped up sometime in the early 90s. However, back then, they weren’t too hard to detect. For instance, typos were commonplace in an old-school phishing mail, and that was a dead giveaway.

Of course, this was a long time ago, when email was still in its infancy. Times have changed and today’s cybercriminal has changed with the times. Their tactics have evolved and phishing emails are far more convincing than they used to be. They are well written and personalized. Hackers and cybercriminals already have a rough idea of who you are, and that means today’s phishing emails are targeted.

Today’s phishing emails also look authentic; they replicate legitimate emails in terms of design and aesthetic. In fact, at first glance, you wouldn’t know the difference between a real email from your bank and a fraudulent version. Needless to say, this makes fighting phishing scams a major challenge.

On the rise

According to data from the RSA, phishing attacks are only growing, and this is despite an increase in user awareness. One major reason for this growth is the simplicity of executing such scams. Malware developers now offer automated toolkits that scammers can use to create and host phishing pages with the utmost ease.

It is estimated that each phishing attack manages to extract an average of $4500 in stolen funds.

how to prevent phishing scams

So, the big question is – how does one protect their email, especially at a time when phishing scams are evolving? Well, here is what the experts have to say.

Never trust just a name

 A common tactic used by scammers is spoofing the display name in an email. According to a study done by ReturnPath, around 50% of 760,000 email threats targeting some of the world’s biggest businesses had made use of this tactic.

This is how it works – let’s say a scammer spoofs a brand name such as “Nike.” The email address of the sender may look something like “Nike nike@customersupport.com.” But, even if Nike doesn’t actually own the domain “customersupport.com,” DMARC and other email authenticity and anti-fraud tools will not to block the mail. This is because the email is legitimately from customersupport.com, even though this domain has nothing to do with Nike.  There is no authentication for the “comment” that goes along with the email address (in this example, that is the word “Nike”).

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Email Filtering and Security: What You Need to Know

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Email is pretty much the only way in which businesses communicate today. According to statistics published in 2015, we were generating over 200 billion emails per day and it was predicted that this figure would grow at a rate of 5% every year. It would be safe to assume that the estimation wasn’t wrong and that we are producing more emails today.

Email has been the preferred option for a wide variety of reasons. To begin with, it is very simple. Everybody knows how to send an email and it really doesn’t take much to learn. Then, there’s the very nature of email that makes it an effective option. You can send an email anywhere and at any time.

But, here’s the thing – simplicity and flexibility are what make email vulnerable. Yes, its biggest strengths are also its greatest weaknesses. Email is so simple that anyone with basic knowledge can intercept it and use it to their own benefit.

You see, email is just like any other form of communication that occurs over the internet. The information is sent over a public network. This includes servers belonging to various third-party entities. These entities can intercept, read, and even alter the email, if the email is not well-secured.  Generally, it is also trivial to forge email and send mass email.

email filtering and security

Needless to say, the statistics reflect this. In 2017, Symantec released a report in which it was estimated that more than half our emails were spam; 54% to be specific. It was also determined that around 1 out of 9 email users encountered malware in early 2017.

In another study from Clutch, 57% of IT decision makers reported that their respective organizations had fallen victim to phishing attacks.

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