Email Security

The vast majority of successful cyberattacks start with a malicious email, and represent an organization’s most significant attack surface. Recent studies have shown that on average, 20% of email threats are being missed by all email security solutions. This is obviously a massive problem. So how is this possible with so many email security products out there?

Here’s the problem; they all work in the same way. All leading secure email gateways try to analyze incoming emails at a central location, before distribution to the individual mailboxes. This approach leaves very little time for deep analysis, that would cause unworkable delays in email delivery for everyone. This limited processing time is exactly why all secure email gateways will consistently miss the most sophisticated threats. To solve this problem, and to close this enormous security gap, requires deep analysis of every single email performed on local computers, when arriving in the individual Outlook mailbox. With this distributed processing, superior analysis and better protection can be provided without causing any delays.

A phishing attack using page impersonation is a prime example of a dangerous and sophisticated threat that can only be blocked by email security deployed on the user devices. Attackers create phishing mails including a link to fake login pages of familiar services like Microsoft 365, Paypal, and others, in order to deceive users into sharing their valuable credentials.

Email remains a top threat vector because it is an application that everyone uses. Cybercriminals easily impersonate a sender and manipulate email content. Cybercriminals use many attack methods, of which malware is a primary one. Phishing attacks are used to target users by sending them emails and other forms of communication, pretending to be a trusted individual or institution, to steal personal and confidential data, such as account numbers, credit card information, and credentials.

Spoofing is another form of deception that involves deceiving recipients into thinking the email is from someone other than the sender, by forging the sender’s address. If the original transmission protocols used for email does not have built-in authentication methods, it can allow misleading spoofing and phishing emails from bad actors.

Email attacks are increasingly sophisticated

Hackers understand the limitations of gateway appliances with intelligence feeds and signature scanning. They are advancing attack techniques with convincing page impersonations, multi-layer attachments, links to files, link redirections, and many other evasive tactics. No organization is immune to an unknown, zero-day multi-layered email attack. Eventually, very determined bad actors that directly target them will break through their cyber defense.

There are three standards-based email security protocols used to address malicious email authentication methods. These include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, which work together to help protect against email and domain name spoofing.

The need for simplified and automated email authentication

The legitimacy of an email’s true owner is critical for communications. In the case of a Business Email Compromise, or BEC, cyberattack, the result for the victimized organization can be financial loss, brand erosion, and loss of consumer trust. Email authentication, using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols to verify an organization’s email and domain, provides proof that the users and devices sending out-bound emails are legitimate. However, implementing, managing and mitigating email authentication remains a cumbersome and fault-riddled process.

Look for Email Authentication that automates DKIM, DMARC, and SPF policy settings to prevent email and domain spoofing. Email security that removes the complexity and difficulty of enabling DKIM, DMARC, and SPF, will enhance the organization’s overall email security posture.

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