What To Look For in an AI-Powered Email Security Solution
- by Justice Levine
Roughly 65% of security leaders say there has been a rise in attempted cyberattacks such as spear phishing, ransomware, and business email compromise in the last year alone. The methods that threat actors use are becoming more sophisticated, overwhelming security teams and making comprehensive email security a necessity for businesses.
As these attacks grow more disruptive, advances in cybersecurity may lead to more effective defenses. Raising shields to prevent attacks has never been easier or more affordable thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This article will discuss the characteristics of an email security solution powered by AI, and machine learning (ML), as well as the limitations of other email providers that leave your business vulnerable to an attack.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Explained
For a time, companies could get away with weak email security, but now they cannot afford to cut corners. Attackers exploit the latest trends by using advanced, stealthy mechanisms, like fileless malware and zero-day attacks, that leave traditional security technology defenseless.
Email Security prevents cyber threats like social engineering attacks that target organizations via email. Small businesses in particular face an increased risk of being targeted by cyberattacks as they typically cannot afford an IT team or security solution. A successful phishing attack can result in lasting consequences for businesses of all sizes and without a proper security strategy in place, businesses run the risk of significant downtime, severe, lasting reputation damage, and financial loss.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools for cybersecurity help reduce the risk of a breach and improve security postures. AI and machine learning (ML) have become critical technologies as they quickly analyze millions of events, identify many different types of threats, and identify risky behavior that might lead to a phishing attack or malicious code being downloaded. These technologies learn from the past to identify new and emerging attacks using previous behavior to build profiles on users, assets, and networks, allowing AI to detect and respond to deviations from the norm.
AI refers to technologies that can understand, learn, and act based on acquired and derived information and works by reproducing cognitive abilities to automate tasks. AI works in three ways: assisted intelligence, augmented intelligence, and autonomous intelligence.
Machine learning is an example of AI technology that uses statistics to give computer systems the ability to “learn” using data as opposed to being programmed. Machine learning works best when aimed at a specific task rather than a wide-ranging mission.
Threats to Your Email Security
Because the threat landscape forces organizations to constantly track and correlate millions of external and internal data points across their infrastructure and users, it’s not always possible to manage this volume of information with only a team of people. This is where machine learning comes into play, as it can recognize patterns and predict threats in massive data sets at high speed. Thanks to automatic analyzing, cyber teams are able to rapidly detect threats and isolate situations that need deeper analysis. AI-based anti phishing software looks for patterns either in the email or within the malware, building notes of patterns by recognizing small aspects that go unnoticed. Instead of looking at signatures, AI pays attention to even smaller parts of the code that it recognizes as malware.
To combat attacks, look for an integrated cloud email security system that employs the very latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques like ML and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to detect and neutralize the attacks.
EnGarde is composed of several different layers to detect numerous targeted threats such as BEC, EAC, phishing, cloud attacks, multi-stage attacks, and others. We stop these threats for BEC Detection by using ML to analyze a wide range of message characteristics to determine if a message is an impostor message.
Phishing is the leading threat to email, by deploying corrupt attachments, URLs that open to fraudulent sites or scare tactics to compromise your sensitive information. Every business, regardless of size or industry, must be aware of cybersecurity threats as cybercriminals are constantly altering their techniques. Effective systems that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning scan messages for irregularities and warning signs of phishing throughout the email, from the metadata to the message content. This includes alerts based on email behavior and message intent. AI will then identify and understand the context of the message, checking if it’s a common spam, a phishing attack or a legitimate message.
Malware, short for malicious software, is a cyber-attack that deploys unauthorized actions on the victim’s system. This can be executed by using ransomware, viruses, phishing, or other malevolent tactics and have three main types: trojan horse, virus, and worm. AI-based malware prevention solutions build their approach around AI/ML models that work to identify malware before it’s executed, without the use of signatures, frequent updates, or cloud connection. The AI models calculate the risk of executable code damage and then determine the safety of a file and if it can be executed or quarantined.
Ransomware holds a company’s sensitive data for ransom, including passwords, financial details, files, databases, applications, and other valuable assets. The victim typically has 24-48 hours to pay the ransom, or the files will be encrypted or compromised information will be made public. Using information from millions of other email messages, AI can then identify an attack that it has never been seen before, without signatures, or if there’s a zero-day vulnerability being exploited. If the AI can detect early signs before encryption can begin, the attack can be stopped by evicting the attackers.
Business Email and Email Account Compromise
Social engineering attacks often come with a payload, such as a phishing URL or an attachment infected with ransomware. These attacks can be automatically detected by a cloud email security system when it is powered by real-time analysis and the latest threat intelligence. Business Email Compromise (BEC), Email Account Compromise (EAC) and other attacks that don’t have an obvious payload, instead rely on impersonation for success.
Artificial Intelligence Is The Future of Cybersecurity
There are several tools that work to mitigate the damages of a ransomware attack, however, due to the financial and reputational risks, companies need a solution that can prevent an attack from occurring. Solutions that utilize AI and ML can identify and intercept cyberattacks before finding their way into your inbox and are constantly developed in real-time as new threats emerge. These solutions identify email messages based on a fraudulent domain that attempts to impersonate a legitimate sender. Once the message is identified, it’s moved into a quarantine folder for further inspection.
Specific aspects of effective email security solutions powered by AI/ML security teams should look for include:
- Expertise from experts: an AI-based email security approach thrives when combined with the expert knowledge of the trainer scientists. The ML algorithm learns based on the field-generated labeled data to be more specific than expert-derived classifications.
- Intelligent identification of impersonation attempts: complete protection depends on your solution’s ability to identify people who aren’t who they say they are. Your solution should use metadata from internal, external, and historical emails to create an identity graph that enables solutions to identify behavioral, content, and link-forwarding deviations.
- Real-time remediation before users interact: your email security solution must identify and quarantine threats before it is too late. AI/ML allows you to act faster than humans, removing threats before the user can interact with the message.
EnGarde Cloud Email Security’s AI-powered auto-learn capabilities enable the system to rapidly adapt to evolving threats, upgrading its protection in real-time to protect against future attacks. The transparent, collaborative open-source development approach that our engineers uniquely employ results in highly effective phishing and zero-day protection for its customers. Emails gathered from millions of systems from around the world are used to identify patterns and perform large-scale tests on filters, and the results of these tests are then distributed back and incorporated into EnGarde.
Q-Learning Restored Ukrainian Power Grid
In December 2015, a cyber attacker compromised power distribution companies in western Ukraine, leading to a power outage for more than 230,000 residents. Several control centers were targeted by suspected Russian hackers, who were able to siphon operator credentials and gain access to the power grid for the Ivano-Frankivsk region. Some areas experienced power outages for as long as six hours.
During this time, the attackers also flooded customer services with calls to keep customers from reporting the incident. The compromise of the Ukrainian power grid was in response to previous incidents and was the first confirmed cyber operation that successfully took down an energy infrastructure. This incident also set the precedent for the security of power grids around the world. The electricity distribution system in Ukraine was targeted again one year later.
Traditional security methods are no longer equipped to face the rising number of vulnerabilities in security systems. Because of this, IT and security teams must be prepared for the possibility of an attack with state-of-the-art protection. Integrating AI into security systems is the best way to fend off an attack and evaluate emerging threats.
- Learn more about an effective email security solution that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Machine Learning (ML) to detect and block threats in real-time.
- Prepare your business for cyberattacks to make sure employees stay safe online.
- Improve your email security posture to protect against attacks and breaches by following best practices.
- Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.
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