Why Do Over 90% of Cyberattacks Begin with an Email?
- by Brittany Day
A cyberattack is an attempt to damage or destroy a computer system or network. In the fast-paced world of cybersecurity, it's crucial to stay one step ahead of the adversaries.
You may be surprised to learn that over 90% of cyberattacks find their humble beginnings in the unassuming realms of email. Picture this: an innocent employee innocently opens a seemingly harmless attachment from their supervisor, unknowingly granting access to malicious actors who halt at nothing to breach your organization's defenses.
You might ask yourself, why do cybercriminals favor emails as their weapon of choice? The answer lies in the power of deception. These attackers exploit human vulnerabilities through cleverly crafted emails, tricking even the most vigilant individuals. With techniques like phishing, spoofing, and social engineering up their sleeves, they orchestrate elaborate schemes that prey upon our trust, opening the gateways to vulnerability.
We must equip ourselves with knowledge and robust security measures to combat this escalating threat. Adequate email security is critical in preventing damaging attacks and data breach. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into why most cyberattacks start with emails, unraveling the psychological tactics employed by these malevolent forces. More importantly, we will provide practical strategies and tips to bolster your email security defenses, empowering you to become the first line of defense against these insidious attacks.
So, join us on this insightful journey where we explore the intricate world of email security and dive into the depths of cyberattacks. Together, we can turn the tables on the attackers and protect our organizations and personal information from being compromised.
Why Does Email Remain the Most Common Channel for Cyberattacks?
Email is an excellent way for businesses to communicate with each other, as well as with consumers. While email is a handy tool, users must be cautious about emails in their inboxes. Email remains the most common channel for cyberattacks because it needs adequate protection, and users often fail to engage in email security best practices. Email often lacks the proper security defenses, and passwords are one of the most significant vulnerabilities of attackers.
Common Types of Email Cyberattacks to Be Aware Of
Companies and users should be aware of many types of email cyberattacks. Common types of email cyberattacks include:
A phishing attack happens when an attacker sends an email that may seem to be coming from a trusted source but, in reality, is trying to get sensitive information from the user. These attacks often use social engineering techniques to manipulate users. In a phishing email, an attacker will impersonate a trusted source or company, usually including a malicious link to a website or attachment. If the user clicks on it, it could redirect them to a fraudulent webpage, tricking them into giving the attacker sensitive information or downloading malware on their device.
Ransomware is malware that holds the victim’s system hostage until they agree to pay a ransom specified by the attacker. After the payment, the attacker instructs how to access their device, but many ransomware victims never regain access to their system or data. A ransomware attack happens when the user downloads ransomware through a website or email attachment, then encrypts the user’s workstation. Ransomware can impact multiple parties simultaneously by denying access to various devices or servers.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) Attacks
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a phishing attack that targets organizations to trick them into wiring money or sharing vital information. This type of attack is one of the most financially damaging. BEC attacks start when attackers research their target and figure out how to fake their identity. Often, they make fake websites or register as companies with the same names in a different country. Once they have access, the attackers monitor emails to determine who would send or receive money.
Along with monitoring emails, they also observe conversation invoices and patterns. The scammer tries to gain users' trust and asks them for money. The scammer impersonates one of the parties by spoofing their email address. The address might be off by a letter or end with a different domain.
The most dangerous attackers can sometimes come from within an organization. Some employees within a company have a strong understanding of cybersecurity and how good the company’s cybersecurity system is. With this knowledge, the user could exploit the organization. People within the organization’s walls are a dangerous threat because they can access multiple systems or, in some cases, access admin privileges that could let them change their plans or security policies.
What Is the Impact of a Cyberattack on Business?
Impacts of cyberattacks can have long-lasting effects on a company. Cyberattacks can carry economic costs, cause reputational damage, and have serious legal consequences. Cyberattacks can result in theft of money, corporate and financial information, or loss of business or contract. As for economic impacts, reputational damage is at risk. Trust is a critical element of a company and customer relationship, in addition to company and employee relationships and relationships with other companies. Cyberattacks can damage your business’s reputation and the trust of your customers, employees, and other stakeholders. These impacts could lead to loss of customers, sales, or profit declines. Data protection and privacy laws require companies to manage the security of all personal data. If this data is accidentally or deliberately stolen, you’ve failed to take the proper security measures to protect this sensitive data. If this happens, what matters the most is ensuring that your company doesn’t experience another cyberattack.
How Can I Protect My Organization from Email Cyberattacks?
To ensure your company and data are protected, taking the proper steps to prevent cyberattacks will help benefit you and your business in the long run. Security breaches can impact some of the most resilient companies. It’s crucial to protect your organization, employees, and customers.
Strengthen Your Email Security Strategy with Proactive Additional Layers of Protection
Businesses can’t rely on endpoint security alone to safeguard their users and business resources. While endpoint protection is a good start, it’s ineffective in combating sophisticated and developing threats. It’s essential to have additional layers of proactive protection supported by expert system monitoring and maintenance. This type of protection needs to learn from emerging attacks and provide real-time cybersecurity insights for businesses.
Secure Email With Sender Authentication
Sender authentication is critical in preventing phishing attacks. It also protects email accounts from threats like spoofing and BEC. Sender authentication verifies that emails come from who they claim to be. Some examples of sender authentication protocols are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a method to prevent sender address forgery. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) verifies email messages that weren’t faked or altered. DMARC merges SPF and DKIM methods. It allows domain owners to state how they would like an email handled if it fails the authorization tests.
Invest in Fully-Managed Email Security Services
It’s critically important that organizations have a fully-managed vCISO email security solution in place to protect against advanced attacks. These services are designed to defend against specific threats companies face, extend IT security resources, improve efficiency, and offer invaluable digital peace of mind.
Safeguard the Inbox Against Email Cyberattacks with Guardian Digital
Guardian Digital provides the caliber of protection needed to secure against targeted spear phishing attacks, ransomware, insider threats, and other types of cyberattacks via its all-in-one EnGarde Cloud Email Security solution. EnGarde’s defense-in-depth protection anticipates and blocks the most advanced threats in real time and updates its defenses to provide enhanced protection against future threats. Given that over 90% of all cyberattacks begin with an email, EnGarde’s complete protection drastically reduces businesses’ risk of suffering a damaging security incident.
Key benefits of securing your business email with EnGarde include:
- Rapid Return on Investment (ROI): By preventing security breaches, minimizing downtime, increasing productivity, and safeguarding your operations, businesses can expect a positive impact on their bottom line.
- Superior protection through an inherently secure design: By applying the collaborative, transparent, open-source development model to email security, businesses receive enhanced threat protection, increased trust in the information they receive, real-time updates, and more secure, resilient technology.
- Extended IT resources: The ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support that Guardian Digital provides reduces the strain on businesses’ overworked IT departments, enabling them to focus more productively on tasks unrelated to email security. These fully-managed services provide the around-the-clock email vigilance required for the early detection and elimination of threats.
- Better Planning & Policy Enforcement: Complete visibility into your email security and the threats targeting your organization via the EnGarde Cloud Email Security Dashboard reduces risk exposure and enables improved cybersecurity business planning and better enforcement of company policies.
- Enhanced Microsoft 365 Email Security: EnGarde’s supplementary defenses bolster inadequate built-in cloud email protection to fortify Microsoft 365 email against credential phishing and account takeovers.
Keep Learning About Preventing Email Cyberattacks
Cyberattacks continue to evolve and change to evade security defenses. Businesses must be aware of the constantly growing threats and vulnerabilities that put their users and critical assets at risk. User education is the first step to lower your risk of cyberattacks. While user education is essential, it’s not enough to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and must be accompanied by the right security technology and services.
- Implementing a comprehensive email security system can help prevent advanced threats, such as targeted spear phishing and ransomware.
- Learn more about effectively protecting your business from ransomware.
- Following these best practices, you can also Improve your email security posture to protect against attacks.
- Keep the integrity of your email safe by 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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