Every year the threat of email attacks on businesses continues to rise. With the changing work culture and the shift to work-from-home being the norm, the reliance on email and email risk has grown.
Although there are multiple methods of cybercrime that can affect businesses, email remains one of the most easily exploitable.
These are some of the biggest email security risks you’ll need to be aware of, so you can protect your business in 2023 and into the future.
1. Email Phishing and Spoofing Attacks
Email phishing and spoofing attacks have been a top email threat for years and there are no signs of it slowing down this year.
There are multiple different types of phishing attacks to be aware of including wide net, spear phishing, business email spoofing, and more.
For business owners and employees, one type of phishing attack to be especially concerned about is the CEO spoofing attack. This is when a hacker will impersonate the CEO or another company executive and send an email asking for employees to make a bank transfer or reveal other sensitive information.
It can even include emails from major companies, trusted vendors, colleagues, and more.
Although it seems these types of attacks will be easy to spot, cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated with these types of attacks.
However, phishing attacks aren’t impossible to stop. Your first line of defense is employee education since these emails will have inconsistencies like grammar, graphics, email from name, formatting, and more.
You can also set up Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to prevent spoofing, by only allowing whitelisted IP addresses to send email from the company domain.
2. Malicious Email Attachment Attacks
Email attachment attacks are often combined with phishing to get a user to download an infected Microsoft Excel or Word macros, PDFs, and even image files onto their computer. This gives hackers remote access to the computer and all the sensitive information it contains.
This has been an ongoing threat for years and even though a lot of users are aware of the threat it remains one of the preferred tools of cybercriminals.
Many email tools will automatically filter out known threats, but everyday hackers are figuring out new ways to create malicious attachments that get around email filters.
3. Ransomware Attacks on Businesses
Ransomware is a form of malware that uses malicious software to infect a computer and will restrict access to certain files, or even a full computer until the ransom is paid.
These attacks can be very costly to recover from since you’ll need to deal with potential ransom payments, data loss and recovery, increased insurance premiums, and more.
Another reason ransomware continues to grow is the new industry of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). With this, ransomware kits are sold and can be deployed by non-tech users.
4. Misconfigured Email Server Attacks
Email servers that aren’t properly configured can leave holes in your email system that hackers can exploit.
When your email servers are misconfigured malicious emails can make it through your security checks and reach your inbox, exposing you to all kinds of risks.
This not only leads to data leaks but can also cause email deliverability issues and even mail bombing when messages are sent from misconfigured servers.
For this reason, you’ll want to conduct regular security checks to look for any configuration issues.
5. Zero-Day Malware Attacks
Zero-day attacks occur when hackers find a flaw in a software system and exploit it before the developers can issue a patch. When this happens it’s usually sold to other cybercriminals, so they can take advantage of the vulnerability too.
Although zero-day attacks are more difficult to pull off, they can result in greater rewards for cybercriminals. A single flaw in a system can put thousands or even millions of business owners at risk since they rely upon the same system.
This is why large-scale email servers like the Microsoft Exchange server are vulnerable and additional steps need to be taken to secure your email server and system.
Avoiding These Top Email Security Risks
No email security system will be perfect, but there are steps you can take to greatly mitigate your risk and reduce the negative fallout if an attack occurs.
The following are a few best practices to help improve your email security this year:
1. Go Beyond a Single Layer of Security
If you have a remote team, then you need to take additional steps to protect common points of entry like email login.
Beyond enforcing strong passwords on all user accounts, you should also employ measures like two-factor authentication to guarantee only the right users are logging into the network.
2. Employ Strong Inbound and Outbound Email Filtering
Strong email filtering can greatly reduce risk by preventing malicious emails and spam from ever reaching your inbox.
Beyond inbound filtering, you’ll also want to use outbound email filtering, which scans emails leaving your server to detect for a potential security breach.
3. Use Email Firewalls to Block Known Threats
An email firewall can be used to block IP addresses from known spam and malicious IP addresses.
You can also use an email protection tool to only accept mail that gets routed through their IP addresses, which automatically prevents spammers from bypassing the firewall.
4. Educate Employees About New Email Security Risks
Even with effective email security tools and processes in place, your employees will always be your first line of defense. If a malicious email does make it to their inbox, they need to know the right actions to take.
When educating your employees and users make sure they’re aware of the latest email security risks, are trained to avoid social engineering and phishing emails, and have secure login credentials when accessing the network.
How MX Guardian Can Help You Avoid These Email Security Risks
Threats to your email inbox don’t show any signs of slowing down. With many people working from home and entire companies going fully remote there’s a need for improved protocols and tighter security measures.
Luckily, MX Guardian offers customized spam filtering and rules, protection against zero-day attacks, phishing and ransomware blocking, and more, to keep you and your business safe 24/7.
Sign up today for a full-featured 30-day free trial and help protect your business against the top email security risks.