Thu, 15 Apr 2021

The security of the e-mailbox is almost forgotten since people now communicate through phone text. However, don't forget that hackers are still at work looking for sensitive information to defraud you. Therefore, you need to set up your email settings in a way that boosts security and supports your privacy. Email security is on the minds of many technology and digital security experts, and for a good reason.

Phishing attacks are common security challenges that both individuals and the corporate world face. Hackers are increasingly using email, phone calls, social media, and any other form of communication they can access to steal valuable information. They are working round the clock to access credit cards, passwords, and other sensitive information for their cybercrime.

Businesses are the biggest target for these attacks. This is why they need to understand better how they can protect themselves from phishing attacks.

How do Companies Become Victims of Phishing Attacks?

Tiffany Tucker, a Systems Engineer at Chelsea Technologies, says that many companies don't have the right tools in place. They also don't invest much time and resources in training their employees on the importance of information security.

Employees have overall knowledge of the information that can lead to a breach of security. Intruders capitalize on this to obtain this protected information through phishing. They collect sensitive information and use it to gain access to protected data and networks. The success of the attacker lies in their ability to establish trust with the victims. In this digital age, collecting information has become easier.

The attacker sends an embedded link through email, directing the employee to an unsecured website and requests for information. They may also install a Trojan via an email attachment or spoof the sender's email to make it look genuine. Alternatively, they may obtain information over the phone by impersonating a reputable stakeholder.

How Companies Can Protect Themselves

Tucker continues to say that companies need to deploy a SPAM filter that picks out blank senders, scam emails, and viruses. This is in addition to installing a web filter that blocks all malicious websites. They also must keep all their systems current with the latest security patches and updates.

Email Identification Tools

Ashu Singhal, the President of Orion Network Solutions, couldn't agree more. He emphasizes the need to identify external emails as soon as they arrive. This will prevent recipients from clicking on phishing emails from imposters.

Two-Factor Authentication

"Turning on multifactor authentication to prevent access to email from another device without approval is also ideal," Singhal continues to say.

The two-factor authentication email setting is a critical setting companies should enable right away. Kenny Riley, the Technical Director of Velocity IT, says that this helps enhance the overall security of email accounts. It also provides a thicker layer of protection that prevents unauthorized access.

Two-factor authentication, when activated, requires the user to utilize an additional type of authentication besides the correct password. This is important because intruders cannot easily access the account from an unrecognized device. The system prompts a code sent to the mobile number linked to the account, which hackers don't have access to. Other forms of two-factor authentication include Google Authenticator, USB security keys like Yubico, and mobile apps with randomly generated codes.

President for Baroan Technologies, Guy Baroan, and Scott Gallupe, President for 403Tech, are of a similar opinion. They say that the most important setting to change for enhanced email security is multifactor authentication. When you have a password and mobile device, you confirm that you're indeed the one trying to log into the system. If you can't provide the code the system generates and sends on your mobile phone, you remain locked out of the account. "While some flaws exist with this method, it's still highly effective," he says.

According to Wil Buchanan, President for Philantech3, you can configure hundreds of email settings on an email server. However, 95% of all security attacks on email are because of poorly configured passwords. If you could change only one security factor in the email environment, it could be the Multi-Factor Authentication.

Disable Image Display on Email

Unfortunately, people have become complacent in securing their digital communication devices. One way that spammers validate their victim's email addresses is by sending out spam emails. Upon confirmation of receipt of the email, they list you on the validated emails and sell to other spammers.

Typically, spam emails come with spyware installed to gather private information about you. This helps them determine how they can take advantage of you. The more spam mails you get, the higher the likelihood that scammers will exploit your device to access more personal information. Minimizing the number of spam emails you receive is one way to improve your email's security, but how do you do this?

When images from spam emails are automatically displayed, hackers validate your email address. The best approach to protecting yourself is to disable the automatic display of images in emails. Almost all email providers give access to this feature. Changing this simple setting can significantly decrease the odds of falling victim to hackers.

Ferrel Fuller, the President of ChaceTech LLC, explains how to use this setting for your Outlook and Gmail. You can also get them at www.chacetech.com, and they will provide more guidance depending on your email provider.

Marking all External Emails

There's no shortage of knowledge and expertise on what you can do to enhance your email's security. Ross Siroti, the CEO of Rekall Tech, says that another easy change to make is to mark all incoming mail from outside the domain as external mail. This should be in big, bold red letters to quickly notify the recipient that the mail is not from an internal source. This setting is available in 365 and Gmail.

Doing this also helps in identifying spoof emails, which usually come from within the organization. In this case, the email shows it's from someone from inside, but the big, bold letters let you know that it's spoof mail.

Final Thoughts

Email security is of utmost importance to individuals and businesses alike. While there are many security settings available, experts seem to agree on one most important thing. The two-factor authentication setting will go a long way in protecting emails and sensitive data. It also wouldn't hurt to use email identification tools, mark all eternal mail, and disable automatic image displays.

Media Contact:

Rick Crawford, MSP Tech News

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