10 Email Security Risks in 2020Orhan Sari
Due to growing number of need for online communication, email remains top security concern or for some a weakness in 2020. When it comes to email security, classic measures like the latest antivirus software will never block cyber-attacks especially advanced social engineering attacks.
Today more and more email security risks are developing with alarming speed. Spear-phishing, whale phishing or whaling attacks, ransomware and other malware attacks have become a great risk for many organizations. Therefore, big or small businesses must find ways to protect against emerging email security risks. Since currently more than 90% of cyber attacks have been launched by an email. and email is still the weakest in the security chain. Also, a security breach might gravely harm either customer or company reputation. Yet, terminating the assault of cybercriminals requires a multi-layered email security procedure. One reason for this is that the email, by default, is not a secure communication tool. Because it travels through the internet from one server to another.
We have listed the ten common email security threats as for 2020.
1- Spoofing and Phishing
In an email spoofing case, a cyber criminal sends a user an email pretending to be someone the user knows. Email spoofing is easy to do, and very difficult to trace to its real sender.
Phishing is also a dangerous method used by cyber criminals to fool users get sensitive information such as bank accounts or social security numbers. Sometimes cyber criminals include graphics and logos be to seen more legal and real. They even give a link that seems to be real. Yet, it takes users to a malicious web site. Because spoofing and phishing are one of the common ways cyber criminals use to attack, users must know the anti-phishing solution against this kind of threats.
2- Email Security Gaps
It is necessary to discover weaknesses caused by provider’s misconfigurations in email services. The vulnerabilities discovered in email services have consequences of infiltrating the target system, revealing information and making systems inaccessible when attackers abuse these vulnerabilities.
3- Domain Squatting
Domain Squatting is registering, selling or using a domain name with the intent of profiting from someone else’s trademark. Therefore, either companies or their customers can be victims of domain Squatting and target-oriented spear phishing attacks.
4- Client-Side Attacks
The attack vectors for internet users are increasing day by day. A link containing malicious content can be enough to capture a computer alone. The e-mail service components’ security must be strengthened, and necessary anti-phishing solution such as employee training or email threat simulating etc. must be conducted against threats.
5- Malicious Files
When malicious content in the email attachment reaches to the user, it may take the whole computer system and network. For successful anti-phishing solution, these files must be analysed with signature-based antivirus software and behaviour analysis services.
Once anyone gets infected, a ransom must be paid for all data encrypted. In this sense, it is necessary to tighten the e-mail service and wait for the analysis services to detect and prevent specific behaviours for ransomware.
This is a very common security problem. A poorly configured configuration in the email service can cause a serious crisis that allows sending email without authentication.
For example, a cyber criminal who connects to your e-mail service without authentication, can send a random e-mail to your employees. A cyber criminal who imitates the CEO may be more likely to succeed.
8- Browser Exploit Kit
E-mails that contain known vulnerabilities of Internet browsers cause identity theft, data leakage and access problems. Sometimes a link may contain an abused piece of code. In this case, the e-mail service and the security components must provide defensive measures.
9- Spear-Phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) Attacks
Another crucial point is that a cyber criminal who bypass all security precautions uses the unawareness of the end user to attack system. Since 97 % of people around the world cannot identify a sophisticated phishing email. Users should be trained regularly to be aware of the threats via phishing tests, exams, questionnaires and games.
10- File Format Exploits
Moreover, file format exploits are becoming one of the primary information security threats for many enterprises. Attackers exploiting these vulnerabilities create carefully crafted malicious files that trigger flaws (such as buffer overflows) in applications. These vulnerabilities are substantially alarming since they often cross platforms. For example, a file format vulnerability in Adobe Acrobat might allow an attacker to create a single malicious PDF file that compromises Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems
Try patented anti-phishing solution for email threats
Keepnet Labs especially focuses on anti-phishing solutions and its components like email security gap analysis tool, phishing test software, phishing software, threat simulation tool, phishing reporter tool and phishing test tool. Also, Keepnet Labs gives occasions to protects against threats with its test categories. We configured test categories according to the needs of the organisations and entirely the scope of operation. Main test categories are:
- Data loss prevention,
- Vulnerability scan,
- Malicious attachments,
- Client-side attacks,
- Ransomware samples,
- File format exploits
- Threat intelligence
Keepnet Labs Email Threat Simulator (ETS): Free email security gap analysis, threat simulation tool.
Security devices are services that require regular checks and maintenance beyond being plug and run systems. Hence, you must regularly test and improve services against risks.
Keepnet’s E-Mail Threat Simulator service tests e-mail service and its components (Antispam, Antivirus, APT Products) against the e-mail threats to take precautions early for full protection.
Keepnet Labs Email Threat Simulator does not operate by involving with the traffic between client and server. Because, security audits carried out by intervening with traffic are insufficient for Antispam, Antivirus and Email services. Therefore, Keepnet ETS service provides to conduct real-world cyber security risks.
Contrasting with the other cyber threat simulation platforms, Keepnet Labs Email Threat Simulator presents some distinctive routines. For instance:
- It controls missing / incorrect configuration options, contrary to familiar vulnerability scanning services,
- Keepnet Labs uses real attack vectors. (Systems that test active network devices by moving traffic are insufficient, and this lack is sustained by real attack vectors by Keepnet Labs.)
- It reports about intrusions with domain squatting features and its integrated cyber intelligence services.
There are full integration options for organizations that have shut down services such as Pop3 and Imap to the outside world and offer web-based email access to their users. In this sense, to connect to the test e-mail box, the integration with “Outlook Web Access” option is the right solution.
Editor’s note: This article is updated on 24 November 2020.