Did you know that 9 in 10 cyberattacks start with a phishing email? Email is the most likely vector for employees to come into contact with a cyber threat, and every business is inundated with email daily. Companies must do everything possible to reduce their risk of an email-based cyberattack landing. Today’s most damaging and dangerous cyber threats, like ransomware and business email compromise (BEC), are primarily email-based attacks. These six tips can help keep businesses out of trouble.
- 6 Tips for Avoiding Email-Based Cyberattacks:
These six preventative measures can help companies avoid email-based cyberattacks:
- Remind employees to avoid clicking on untrustworthy links: No one should ever click on unexpected or unusual links in an email message, no matter who the sender is. Instead, encourage safe email handling behaviour like hovering over the link to see the underlying URL of the link to help determine its legitimacy. Clicking on a malicious link often takes the victim to a malicious login page that bad actors use to steal the victim’s credentials. Sometimes, malicious links can lead to malware downloads and other bad outcomes.
- Never disclose sensitive information without verifying the request’s legitimacy: Make sure that everyone in the organization, from the interns to the CEO, knows that they should never reply to an email from an untrusted source requesting personal information, sensitive company data or money without verifying its validity, no matter how little information the sender asks for. Invoice scams, in which bad actors pretend to be a service provider owed money, are the most common type of email scam. A simple misjudgment could jeopardize the organization’s defences and cost a fortune.
- Reinforce the message: Don’t open suspicious email attachments: Always ensure an email is trustworthy and check for red flags before opening a branch. Opening an infected attachment can cause harmful effects like deploying ransomware. Avoid opening unexpected attachments that prompt the recipient to run macros to view them. Enabling a malicious macro can give bad actors control of that computer.
- Maintain a regular security awareness training program: Anyone in the company could be targeted in a phishing scam. To ensure everyone is on their toes, conduct regular security awareness training from interns to the CEO. Include quizzes in the movement to quickly determine who needs more help and who may be a security risk. Trained users are 30% less likely to click on a phishing link.
- Keep all systems current: An unpatched software program or operating system is highly vulnerable to a cyberattack. Bad actors love to exploit vulnerabilities, and a zero-day vulnerability can occasionally pop up. Ransomware gang Cl0p recently went on a cyberattack spree that snagged over 100 victims after discovering a zero-day vulnerability. Regularly update all programs and operating systems to benefit from the latest security patches.
- Conduct phishing simulations: Train employees to spot and avoid phishing hazards with regular phishing simulations. Even better, customize the content of these simulations to reflect the unique threats that employees face daily. Although security awareness training doesn’t work overnight, it makes steady progress that holds up over time, reducing a company’s phishing risk from 60% to 10% within the first 12 months.
- Solutions that can help keep email-based attacks at bay:
While preventive measures help improve cyber hygiene, some sophisticated attacks still sneak past an organization’s cyber defences. Organizations can take their phishing defence to the next level with the following solutions:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI tools analyze emails in real-time and look for anomalies and warning signs throughout the email, from the metadata to the message content. AI-based systems use machine learning algorithms to recognize communication patterns and flag unusual behaviour. While employees may fall for social engineering traps, these lures are ineffective against AI-based systems. 42% of companies in a cyber resilience survey cited the use of AI technology and security automation as a significant factor in their success in improving their cybersecurity posture.
- Automation: Automation systems are a critical asset for cybersecurity teams. Compared to hours or days with traditional security solutions, these solutions help reduce the response time to seconds. A fully automated threat detection and response solution empowers cybersecurity teams to quickly compile a list of alerts and streamline threat mitigation efforts into a repeatable workflow. Automated security catches an estimated 40% more threats than conventional security.
- Security awareness training: No matter how hard an organization’s IT platform is, it is only as secure as its user base. In a survey, 45% of employees admitted to opening suspicious emails, making them the most significant security liability to their organization. However, with security awareness training, employees can easily detect and report phishing emails and become cyber warriors for their organizations.
- Identity and access management (IAM): IAM solutions are the core of cybersecurity for organizations of all sizes. Many IAM solutions provide a single sign-on launchpad that enables users to authenticate with multiple applications and websites using just one set of credentials. Also, multifactor authentication (MFA) in IAM solutions enhances an organization’s defence by requiring users to identify with more than a username and password. This protects organizations against unauthorized access even if user credentials like usernames and passwords are compromised.
- Security operations center (SOC): With the increased sophistication and frequency of phishing attacks, organizations need 24/7 monitoring of their critical attack vectors. Even a single vulnerability can give cybercriminals ample opportunities to launch an attack. SOCs employ a team of experts who continually monitor an organization’s systems and networks using innovative tools to detect and eliminate an attack before it can harm the organization.
Source: ID Agent