We have had, in the recent months, many reports of malicious email attacks, including those targeting Amazon and Netflix customers. Such malicious email attacks are on the rise; still it seems that even today there are many people, and many businesses as well, that do no realize that it’s a malicious email that has come to them. The notable thing is that they don’t realize this even when they are hit and affected by such a mail.
There are different kinds of malicious emails- phishing emails, BEC (Business Email Compromise) and ransomware attacks via emails. These malicious mail attacks can have devastating effects on many organizations and can cause all kinds of losses- financial losses, loss of reputation etc. Hence it becomes important that whenever an employee in an organization suspects that he or she has received a mail that could be malicious, it needs to be reported to the IT department. The IT department would look into it and identify the kind of attack before blocking the attack and ensuring web security for the enterprise ensuring web security for the enterprise .
More about malicious email attacks
Hackers use very subtle methods to send malicious email attacks, which might sometimes even bypass antispam protection software installed on a system.
Consumer phishing attacks, which are also sometimes known as Scattershot attacks, are usually sent to many people at the same time. The hackers do this in the hope that it would be opened by those who are less security savvy. They send the emails by cleverly spoofing the email addresses and by using a fake domain name, mostly impersonating a well-known or trusted brand’s domain, for creating a false identity. Those who open it would be asked to follow a link, which would, in turn, take them to a fake website wherein they would be asked to enter their login credentials.
BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks use social engineering methods to work out fraudulent emails with contents that seem ‘believable’. Such attacks, which are sent to very few people, targeting specific groups, like for example the HR team of a company or the financial controllers of an enterprise, might come either from a legitimate but compromised account or from an imposter using a fake account.
Ransomware attacks, like BEC attacks, use social engineering methods to work out fraudulent emails with contents that seem ‘believable’ and are sent from either an impostor or a compromised legitimate account. The emails would have malicious links or malware-infected documents, which when accessed, would let loose ransomware on the system/network. The ransomware would then block access to files, data or the systems themselves and access would be restored only on the payment of a ransom.
Since emails arrive in huge volumes every day, especially in companies and organizations, it becomes difficult to sometimes spot and block malicious emails. Thus email security turns out to be not as easy as it seems at the outset.
What’s to be done?
To ensure better email security, it would be advisable to go for trusted antispam protection software, email authentication technology, using multi-layered security systems etc. It’s also important for any company or organization to understand the techniques, targets and motivations behind each kind of malicious email and adopt the best preventive measures accordingly.