Cyber attacks on mail: how to protect the brand, profit, and reputation of the company

Email remains one of the key communication channels in business. But it is also a common entry point for cybercriminals who use malware, phishing, and other types of attacks to gain access to company data, block company operations, or demand financial rewards for reactivating attacked devices.

If any of the company’s employees opens an email and recklessly clicks on a malicious link or downloads an infected file, this increases the risk of leakage of commercial and confidential information, reputational losses and financial losses.

Many companies do not even realize how vulnerable they are if their email is not properly protected. In this article, we’ll talk about how to change this.

Corporate email security: why does it matter?

Email security is the practice of protecting accounts and messages from unauthorized access, loss, or compromise.

This is important in order to:

  • protect the company’s brand, reputation and profits. Email attacks can cause financial losses;
  • improve team productivity. With a reliable email security solution in place, companies can reduce potential disruptions and downtime caused by An effective solution helps security services prevent and respond to threats;
  • ensure compliance with data protection laws (GDPR).

What threatens corporate email security?

  • Phishing attacks are not a new phenomenon, but cyberhackers become very active during the COVID-19 pandemic, when company employees moved outside the organization’s secure perimeter and started working remotely. With the outbreak of a full-scale war, the IT security of businesses is tested for strength by hostile cyber troops who, by any means, including phishing, are trying to disrupt the work of companies and gain access to confidential information.

How does it work?

The user receives an email disguised as an email from a partner, colleague, or customer, which contains a link to a phishing site. Suspecting nothing, they click on it. At this point, personal data is stolen, malicious code is distributed to the device for the purpose of future stealing or espionage.

The same can happen when a user receives an email with a malicious attachment, such as an Excel document with a macro. By opening it, it launches a malicious program that can disrupt the work of both a single user and an entire company by spreading across the corporate network.

  • Malicious software’s main purpose is to take over computer power and/or stored information for the purpose of unauthorized use of the computer and computer systems. Types of malware include viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Ransomware is a cyberattack that destroys or encrypts files and folders, preventing the owner of the compromised device from accessing their data. The cybercriminal can then demand money from the business owner for a key to unlock the encrypted data. But even in the case of payment, cybercriminals may not provide a key to return access.
  • Spam is unsolicited messages that are sent in bulk without the consent of the recipient. Fraudsters use spam to spread malware, trick recipients into revealing sensitive information, or demand money.

How to protect company email from cyber attacks

Let’s look into email protection taking into account the most common vulnerabilities. If your company uses Exchange online mail, it includes Exchange online protection (EOP) by default. It is a cloud-based filtering service that protects against spam, malware, and other email threats.

How EOP works

But there is still a risk of receiving emails with malicious links or attachments, so you need to organize an additional layer of protection. To do this, we recommend using Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1, a solution that includes advanced threat prevention features such as safe links and safe attach.

Safe link is a feature that scans URLs and helps protect your company from malicious links used in phishing and other attacks.

Safe attach is a feature that provides an additional layer of protection for email attachments before they are delivered to recipients, and helps protect your organization from unanticipated sharing of malicious files across SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

How Microsoft Defender for Office 365 protects company from cyber attacks

Email security directly depends on the behavior of each employee. It is people who are considered the first line of defense in a company’s IT security, so it is important to teach them to recognize phishing attacks or other manifestations of cybercriminals. To do this, we recommend that you run simulated attacks in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 to minimize the risk of human error.

We suggest doing a quick security check of your email right now by answering 5 questions:

  1. Do you use a strong email password that consists of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters?
  2. Do you use encryption to transfer confidential information?
  3. Is two-factor authentication enabled, requiring two separate authentication factors (password or mobile-generated code)?
  4. Have you installed antivirus software on your device?
  5. Do you scan attachments and links before opening or clicking on them?

If, after answering the questions, you need practical recommendations taking into account the security strategy of your business, we offer you a free consultation from SMART business specialists. In one hour of consultation, we will talk about the key vulnerabilities of corporate mail and tools that will reduce the risk of attacks.

Summary:

Email threats are becoming more sophisticated, requiring companies to implement strong security systems to protect their data, brand reputation, and profits. Companies can improve the security of their email by introducing policies and using threat protection tools.

How secure from cyber threats is your company overall?

To answer this question, take the test and get an independent assessment of your company’s IT security level and recommendations to help strengthen your existing strategy.

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