Nowadays Email services are used for a variety of reasons. It is our messenger service that carries all sort of information across the Internet. Right from signing new business deals to performing business transactions. This increasing dependency on emails is a cause of concern for all organizations. Email phishing still remains a serious Cyber-security & one of the biggest Email Security Threats across the world.
All users ranging from private users to enterprises are prone to its attack. Hackers deploy a variety of Email Security Threats that pass on malware programs, viruses which can harm its intended users. There are increasing instances of cyber-security attacks. This Email Security Threats have forced Internet giants like Electronic Frontier Foundation, WordPress and the rest to implement cyber-security best practices like HTTP everywhere.
SSL certificates have risen to center stage for security reason in order to encrypt and keep information safe from hackers. Having a SAN SSL which is also known as multi-domain SSL certificate is more critical. The problem persists if you are running an online store or eCommerce store that handles payments of such sensitive information. Your website is kept secure from a variety of email security threats by these Certificates and variety of other security measures. Such email security threats may include anything from MIMA to phishing and more.
This blog is to let you know about the several kinds of popular email security threats. It is important to understand each of these threats separately.
Popular Email Security Threats :-
1) Viruses-infected Attachments :-
Viruses are known to be the primary forms of security attack on the Internet. They are often spread through email. Here they take a different form and shape which can confuse even expert system users. Viruses in the form of zipped attachments are most common. When they are downloaded and extracted they infect the system. After Infecting, the system malfunctions or spies on data relaying it back to the hacker.
2) Phishing :-
Phishing is the oldest and most common form of email security threats. In phishing, the victim is sent unsolicited mail by hacker. This mail urges victim to share confidential information. This could be in form of bank account details, login credentials and in some advanced cases even requests to make wire transfers. These emails might appear to be like originating from genuine sources hence making them respond as requested in the email.
Phishing can be categorized further as :-
Mass-scale Phishing –
Here a large number of email users are Targeted. Its done using the same email server, ISP or network.
Spear Phishing –
Here specific individual email users are targeted whose email id might carry critical information like corporate records, contracts, user credentials, etc.
In whaling the victim is specifically a person of power or responsibility who can execute decisions. The Decisions are specifically related to financial transactions. The hackers use social engineering to send emails to personnel reporting to the manager or a CEO. Through Whaling Critical information like employee records, financial reports or even bank transfers is executed.
3) Malicious Links :-
Here Emails are used to spread malicious links that can spam websites. These websites are created either for selling fake products or stealing user information through illicit means. Some common example of such malicious links is pharma products claiming to ‘reduce weight in 7 days’ or ‘artificial muscle enhancing pills’. Ofcourse they do not work in real life.
Nowadays spamming is been more of an annoyance than a serious security issue. Spam emails are generally unsolicited emails from vendors providing offers, discounts and so on. Modern day spam filters help in Preventing spam emails. But still large number of spams still get into user inboxes. Also they carry malware programs that get into user system to cause malfunctioning.
4) Zero-Day Exploits :-
This is known as a zero-day attack or zero-hour attack. Here hackers gain entry by making use of vulnerability in the software or the website. This vulnerability is probably already known to the developer but was not fixed properly. ain case of the attact not being contained in time. The attack spreads to other systems in the network and can cause serious disruptions in performance.
Is there a reason to worry about all these email security threats?
It is possible that your employer is monitoring your web traffic to check whether you are looking for another job. Or Google could read your emails to figure out what adverts to send you. There is a list of concerns that every email user is exposed to. These email security threats are making things worse.
How to save yourself from this threats?
Securing your email account and ensuring its round-the-clock security can be done easily. You need to look for these essential features which will save you the trouble of being hacked.
A Sender of the email: Are you familiar with the email sender? If Yes, then double check the spelling and ensure that it is correct. Hackers even use misspelled email id’s to trick users into believing them.
Subject Line: If the subject line is over-dramatic or confusing, it could possibly be a spam or a hacked email.
Attachments: As discussed previously, majority of the email security attack originate from malicious attachments. Avoid this by Installing antivirus software that can scan your attachments before downloading. Thus you can avoid email security threats.
Links: Not all links are malicious links directing you to dangerous sites. Still you have to be careful of spoofed links hidden inside texts. Ensure that the link is an HTTP before opening it.
Personalization: If the email you recieved addresses you by a nickname or a name that only your close circles are aware of. It may be spear phishing. Social engineering enables hackers in finding personalized details about you including your nickname.
Offer/Demand of the email: Do not trust If the offer or the demand in the email seems to be too good to be true. If you wish to verify its authenticity, contact the sender by phone or in person. Such emails are best left as it is and are not responded.
Staying on the Internet is becoming difficulty every day. Your email has become primary target for hackers. Secure it or else you might lose critical personal information that will lead to financial loss. It can even damage your personal reputation or even worse.