How Guardian Digital Stops Impersonation Attacks
- by Justice Levine
Impersonation attacks such as CEO Fraud, Whaling, and Business Email Compromise are easy to build and execute, even for malicious hackers who don't have experience. Threat actors create fraudulent websites or send out fake emails from seemingly legitimate-looking domains.
Successful impersonation attacks evade the detection of most filters as they often don't contain malicious links or payloads, making it one of the most successful scams for cyber thieves. Guardian Digital blocks these attacks using its unique multi-layered approach to email security. This article will discuss what a business impersonation attack is and how Guardian Digital can help you effectively stop and prevent impersonation attacks.
What Are Impersonation Attacks, and How Can Guardian Digital Help?
Guardian Digital goes beyond standard protection mechanisms with our targeted attack protection to uncover and prioritize advanced threats to stop all types of impersonation compromises. A business impersonation attack results from an attacker posing as a trusted person in an effort to steal or compromise sensitive information from a company or its customers. Companies of all sizes are vulnerable to this insidious type of phishing attack. These low-volume, hard-to-detect threats are calculating, cannot be detected using conventional solutions, and are targeted at specific individuals within an organization. These threat actors may try to hack into a company's network, access sensitive data, or transfer money from a legitimate account. Cybercriminals typically achieve such fraud through fake websites, social networks, or emails.
Our intelligent systems succeed in detecting fraud with deep scanning for identity theft, whaling, CEO fraud, Business Email Compromise (BEC), and Email Account Compromise (EAC) beyond the abilities of regular signature-based systems. We utilize human and artificial intelligence to better understand each internal and external relationship. Using deep content inspection and your historical email patterns, Guardian Digital understands how your users use email within the organization. Unlike any other provider, this allows us to offer the most effective protection against these imposter and social engineering attacks.
Guardian Digital combines the most technologically advanced open-source developments, many standards-based email security software solutions, and our ingenuity and decades of security expertise to create a cohesive, multi-layered enterprise email defense solution.
Among the prevention methods Guardian Digital uses to stop impersonation attacks, we have:
- Real-time checks of each message using the resources of systems from around the world (Big Data): Big Data can help stop impersonation attacks by analyzing large volumes of data from various sources to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate fraudulent activity. With the help of Machine Learning algorithms, Big Data can find potential impersonation attacks by analyzing user behavior, network traffic, and historical logs. Once these patterns and anomalies are present, extensive data loss prevention systems can automatically trigger alerts or block suspicious activities, stopping impersonation attacks before they can cause significant damage. Additionally, Big Data can monitor email threats in real-time, providing organizations with a more proactive approach to email security.
- Sender-recipient relationship and data about how they use email: provides valuable insight into communication patterns between two individuals who exchange emails, including the frequency, content, and tone of messages sent between the parties. Analyzing data about email usage patterns can help detect anomalies or suspicious activity, such as unusual communication patterns or changes to message content or frequency. For example, if someone starts receiving extensive messages from someone they hardly interact with, it could be a clear indicator of compromise, potential phishing, or a social engineering attack.
- Domain reputation and age analysis help block lookalike platforms: Lookalike domains appear similar to legitimate websites but are controlled by cybercriminals who trick users into divulging sensitive information or downloading malware. Analyzing and assessing a domain's reputation by looking into various elements such as its history, content, and activity can assist in recognizing domains that have been involved in phishing attacks or are associated with suspicious behavior. Age analysis examines a domain's age to determine whether it's a legitimate platform or another lookalike.
- Prevent sending unauthorized emails using your domain SPF and DKIM: two email authentication protocols that help prevent email spoofing and shield your domain from being used in phishing attacks include Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). SPF protocol lets you specify which servers can send emails from your domain. Recipients can then use this information to determine if the email was sent from a trusted host. DKIM is an email authentication protocol that creates a digital signature on outgoing emails for recipients to confirm it hasn't been modified in transit. Implementing SPF and DKIM on your domain can prevent unauthorized emails, protecting users against phishing attacks that use your domain to send a spoofed email. It can also help to ensure mail from other senders comes from an authorized sender.
- Authenticate email and prevent fraudulent use of your domain using DMARC email authentication: DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is an email authentication protocol designed to prevent fraudulent use of your domain in email messages. It offers protection against email spoofing, phishing attempts, and other email-based scams. Implementing DMARC email authentication allows providers to determine how receiving servers should handle emails that appear from your domain but weren't sent by its authorized email servers. DMARC combines SPF and DKIM with additional policies in threat prevention.
- Artificial and Human Intelligence understand your relationships with users and vendors: AI can assist by analyzing data from multiple sources, such as customer interactions, purchase history, and social media activity, to identify patterns in your users' behaviors and preferences. In doing so, AI can assist in understanding your users and anticipating their needs. Human intelligence (HI) also gives a deeper insight into your relationships with customers and vendors by helping you build trust with users and vendors, a crucial factor for long-term success. Guardian Digital uses both technologies together for the most significant benefit.
- Display name email spoofing: attackers will spoof the sender's display name in fraudulent email messages no matter what other techniques they employ. The display name appears in the "From:" field when you read the message but is unrelated to the sender's email address or where replies are sent. Display name spoofing is where the attacker uses familiar names in email spoofing to gain the recipient's trust. Our dynamic classification capabilities can detect, analyze, and block emails that use display name spoofing as a gateway for hacking.
- Dynamic classification: an additional layer of defense against email fraud attacks. Dynamic classification analyzes and manages email using several factors, including its content, reputation, and relationship with the recipient. Many factors should be considered: Is the email from a trusted sender? Does that sender have an excellent reputation? Is the subject of the email suspicious? Are there any existing email relationships between the sender/receiver? Is the email's body suspicious? The email is scored based on the user's risk, and they decide how to handle the email. Guardian Digital goes beyond the standard measures other solutions use to protect our customers. Our fully managed cloud-based email security platform protects from known and emerging threats, built from the most technologically advanced open-source developments using our decades of email security company expertise. This multi-layered enterprise email defense solution reduces the information technology overhead in even the largest organizations. Our customers also see increased visibility into their mail system to identify suspicious email activity and accelerate threat response with all the data on the attacks targeting your users.
BCMC Global Gains Peace of Mind, Closes Microsoft 365 Security Gaps with Guardian Digital
Brown and his team turned to Microsoft 365 email as the primary method of communicating with clients and conducting business. However, the magnitude of the risk to his clients and his own company became apparent when one of his clients received an email from someone claiming to be from Brown just as they discussed payment for their next media spread. The attacker compromised his client's network and monitored their discussions for months. Several key domain security features were not configured properly for BCMC Global, which allowed this attack to occur, and the intruder capitalized on such weaknesses.
BCMC has seen a dramatic increase in impersonation attacks that are more sophisticated than ever before and virtually indistinguishable from an email originating from the actual sender. Brown said, “Relying on the default security provided by Microsoft 365 for these more sophisticated attacks proved inadequate and was costing us the trust of our clients… This stealthy attack threatened our sensitive data and hard-earned reputation, and we determined that we couldn't afford to wait any longer to secure Microsoft 365 email with reputable supplementary cloud email protection."
Because of the rapid growth that Brown and his company were experiencing, the company needed an adaptive, scalable solution that could grow and evolve with it and its expanding client base. By implementing Guardian Digital’s EnGarde Cloud Email Security software, Gene Brown has maintained BCMC Global's hard-earned client trust and experienced the invaluable peace of mind that their users and critical business assets are safe from the damaging, costly cyberattacks and breaches rampant in Microsoft 365.
Learn More About Impersonation Fraud Protection
Learn how Guardian Digital can protect your organization against impersonation attacks and other malicious emails. Contact us for a free assessment of your current email security platform or environment and discuss how Guardian Digital can help you close the email security gaps others leave unmonitored.
- Learn more about an effective email security system that understands your relationships with other people while gaining a deeper knowledge of your conversations with them.
- Prepare your business for cyberattacks to make sure employees stay safe online.
- Improve your company’s online posture to protect against attacks and breaches by following our best practices for email security.
- Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing your email cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Avoid phishing attacks and malware ransomware with tips from our Behind the Shield newsletter.
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