Gone are the days when you needed to log into your email on a clunky computer that used to dial up the connection and the slow and lag-filled email client opened for you to check on who has sent you mails. You can now use your email client almost everywhere; whichever platform you are most comfortable with. From your desktop/laptop, to your mobile device: they all support sending and receiving email. After all, it is one of the most important parts of staying connected. But there is a trouble. With all this cross-compatibility and popularity that email has gained, gaping loopholes have been opened that pose significant risk to your business information, or even worse, your private information.
Email security is a raging issue at the moment, and a lot of companies are grappling with the onslaught of notorious hackers who are usually interested in gaining information about the target in order to gain backdoor entry to the setup of the target. Here are some of the major threats that have taken the spotlight in the recent times:
An increasing number of attackers are using email platforms to deliver their payloads of malware to the target clients, which contain Trojans, virus, spyware, and the like, and have been somewhat successful in bypassing the security features of many email clients. The malware is used to gain entry into the target system, and the attackers are able to sniff out personal information from the system, such as the user activities and the like. The attackers can also change privileges and permissions on the target system, which would allow them to log back in at any time they prefer. The impacts of this are huge. They go beyond money, resources and effort needed to recover. They include serious loss of productivity, corruption of data and loss of confidence in the system.
Unsolicited bulk email that you should be aware about, has been known to have disrupted productivity seriously. These emails also utilize the IT resources of your company severely, and are mainly used for distribution of malware as noted above. Spam emails are also used to serve phishing attacks. Businesses mainly lose money when spam eats up the server resources. Despite some level of filtering, spam inadvertently creeps into the mailboxes, due to the attackers’ abilities to creatively craft the emails to “not” look like spam to the filters. Clogged servers do not permit genuine email into the system either, and this leads to losses.
This is also called “identity theft” in some scenarios. Phishing was not heard of until the early 2000s, when the attackers began to pose like genuine sources such as financial institutions, banks and the like, and trick the user into believing the same. Once they have gained the trust of the user through the use of genuine-looking emails and webpages, they make the user enter their login credentials into the page, and once this part is done, the attackers receive such details and can use them to perform illegal transactions using the user’s bank account. Phishing attacks are some of the most serious attacks that can directly jeopardize the end-user’s personal details, and even drain the bank balance if not much care is taken.
Instead of directly hacking into the system, sometimes, the attackers get the users to perform actions that would enable them to easily break into the security system of their organization. This can be done through email-spoofing, where the attacker is able to masquerade the sender’s details and can fake the information shown in the email header, to make it feel like it came from the genuine person whom the target is conversing with. This is highly devastating, to say the least.
With all these problems in place, and the widespread use of email as an assumed secure method of conversation, such issues are only on the rise, and can affect the unsuspecting target at random. There needs to be a way to solve these.