For organizations, email is the first line of defense against hacking and should be best protected. According to research, more than three billion infected emails are sent every day, which means that it is very likely that you will receive an infected email in your inbox.
E-mails are very much aimed at cyber criminals. The main reason is that everyone has an email address, and it is relatively easy to obtain many and send malicious links containing a virus.
So, what can you do about it?
Start strengthening your email security.
What is email security about? It’s about changing your password to a stronger one, but also having the tools to protect you from common cyber-attacks.
Which cyber attacks should you learn to recognize and how to set a strong password to protect your email?
Let’s find out.
Recognize obvious phishing attacks
Emails are the main target of phishing attacks. That’s why it’s important to recognize a phishing attack.
What all phishing attacks have in common is that they pretend to be someone you trust. Cyber criminals don’t want you to question whether an email is a scam, a legitimate offer, or a genuine concern.
Common scams include impersonating banks and reporting that your account has been hacked.
To protect that same account, they may ask you to click on a certain link that connects data or even your PIN – even though a bank would never ask you to disclose it via email.
In recent times, there has been an increased number of attacks, including mimicking medical facilities, due to COVID-19. Hackers send infected files with information about the latest measures regarding the corona virus.
Medical and financial scams include emails sent to many people. Avoid clicking links or opening attachments, even if you receive an email that looks like it came from your bank or official medical institution.
The purposes of phishing emails are different. Some may ask you to transfer money and others may pretend to help you and urge you to click on a particular link or install attachments that contain malware.
Some indications that you have received a phishing email are:
- Sense of urgency – scammers pressure you to respond as soon as possible
- Grammar Errors — Scam emails are known to contain many grammatical errors
- General greeting — email filters can recognize certain templates hackers use, and it’s common for them to start with a greeting like “Dear Valued Member” or even “Dear Customer”
Use reliable anti-malware
Reliable antivirus installed on all your devices is a must. E-mail scams often involve a link to a website infected with malware or an attachment containing a virus that wants to be installed on your computer.
Therefore, even if you don’t transfer money at their request, cyber criminals can find another way to get into your bank account. They can track your activity using the remote access they were given after you installed malware on your device.
Antivirus software from a reputable company can detect viruses on your device and limit them before hackers do any damage or gain access to your sensitive information and make ransom demands.
Set a strong password
To be impenetrable, your password must be at least 8 or 13 characters. It must also consist of a unique combination of both upper and lower case letters, numbers and special symbols.
Avoid using your personal information when choosing your password. Figures like anniversaries or birthdays are easier to trace back to you, especially on social media.
In addition, you should avoid having words from a dictionary in your password. Hackers can use the dictionary to crack your credentials.
When was the last time you changed your passwords? Has it been more than six months or even longer? If not, it’s time to change it.
Do you also use your password for more than one account?
If so, that means hackers can hack into your email and use the same password to access all the other sites and services you sign up with using the same credentials.
Secure your business email
Businesses need more complex measures to protect their networks and corporate emails. Having stronger tools to protect your system from the latest cyber-attacks, basic employee cybersecurity training, and applying zero trust is a good start.
Your tools must be able to scan and mitigate phishing and other potential email-targeted attacks. They should block the installation of attachments and access to suspicious sites, as well as remove threats already on your computer.
Employee training is an efficient way to combat potential security vulnerabilities.
Not all of your employees are tech savvy, and some of them can create a vulnerability in your system. They can click on an infected link in the body of the email or download an attachment from an unknown sender.
However, your employees are not cybersecurity experts and it is not their sole responsibility to protect your network.
Use zero trust by restricting access to certain parts of your systems and use cybersecurity tools that continuously scan for unwanted access.
Email is a goldmine of information for hackers — Protect it
The information you have on your email is precious and needs to be protected – even if you firmly believe that you have nothing or are already sharing a lot about yourself on your social media.
Emails can contain information about your bank account, private information about you, your family, your customers and more.
For better email security, you can start by replacing your password with a more secure one and have tools that remove malware in case you accidentally click on a malicious link.