As long as email exists, you can bet good money that malicious actors are attempting to infest your inbox. For decades, hackers have been plaguing our emails with malware, spam, spear phishing, and much more. Although we have grown so used to it, email attacks are far from simply pesky messages cluttering up our inboxes. More than ever, they are coming after enterprise data, intellectual property, and corporate secrets to hold as ransom or to simply cause panic and disruption.
To do so, email attacks have evolved in sophistication. Now, they are better disguised, more researched, and highly targeted, making them much more difficult to spot. In fact, attackers are researching to the extent of successfully impersonating trusted executives or colleagues to trick recipients into sharing sensitive information. In turn, email attacks have outgrown traditional security measures and can often bypass defences through backdoor techniques.
Furthermore, malicious actors are becoming more opportunistic with their attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge of phishing emails, as attackers took advantage of heightened panic and vulnerability. Some victims were sent emails that claimed to have COVID-19 tests and cures, while others received some that impersonated trusted bodies such as the World Health Organization. These emails would be written with a sense of urgency, enticing the reader to click on malicious links or downloads riddled with malware. Such urgency is quite typical of email attacks, as it compels recipients to act quickly without as much precaution.
Since cyber attackers have upped the ante on their side, it is imperative that businesses up their game too. Proactive defence has become non-negotiable; organisations can face dire consequences if an attack should occur, including costly fines or reputational damage.
Of course, bolstering a business’s inbox defence is much easier said than done, as attacks vary in type, complexity, and severity. In turn, organisations need to find out what they’re up against to put them in the best stead possible.
Building a safety barrier with Barracuda
Perhaps one of the best resources available to businesses today is Barracuda Network’s ebook: 13 email threat types to know about right now. The ebook offers a comprehensive profile on each threat type, giving examples of how the threat may appear, as well as detailing its impact and how to defend against it. These threat types are also ranked in complexity to give you an understanding of the most pressing attack styles impacting businesses today.
In the ebook, it is made clear that gateway protection is not enough. While Barracuda acknowledges that gateways are the “necessary foundation of email security”, the ebook warns strongly that businesses need to bring in reinforcement. Their recommendation is to deploy API-based inbox defence. In doing so, companies can unlock a historical, internal view of URLs they actually use. In turn, the API can block abnormal or impersonating URLs, protecting users as a result.
As well as this, Barracuda’s ebook shines a spotlight on the importance of educating employees. In particular, companies should carry out security awareness training to encourage vigilance across the workforce. Barracuda’s promise is that ongoing simulation and training will enable employees to recognise and report malicious content, transforming the workforce into your very own layer of defence.
The key takeaway from the ebook is that “[e]very business needs to deploy the right combination of technology and people to have effective email protection.” In other words, organisations need to harness protection as well as education to withstand the current threat landscape. With employees especially vulnerable when working from home in lockdown, it is more important than ever to equip your teams with the right solutions.
Total Email Protection Bundle
Although putting it all into action sounds like a tremendous task, with Barracuda, it needn’t be. The company offers a rich portfolio of solutions, all encompassed in the Total Email Protection Bundle. This bundle combines some of Barracuda’s impressive email protection products to cover your employees at all bases.
The products all interlace to create a watertight security environment for your employees’ inboxes. First in the portfolio is Barracuda Essentials, which filters and sanitises every email before it is delivered to your mail server. The award-winning product also comes with encryption, archiving, and backup capabilities to keep your data safe while ensuring compliance with email retention policies.
Next in the bundle is Barracuda Sentinel. This product leverages artificial intelligence to detect threats that traditional email gateways cannot. In particular, it works by learning your business’s unique communication patterns to detect personalised fraud in real time, making it a highly effective solution to protect against business email compromise and account takeover.
As we know from the ebook, education is also integral to a business’s email protection strategy. Rather than leaving you empty-handed, Barracuda delivers a complete training and spear phishing simulation platform in the form of Barracuda PhishLine. With this offering, businesses can expose their employees to the latest attack techniques and train them to recognise these attacks better. PhishLine’s patented, highly variable attack simulations teach your employees to recognise even the subtlest of clues and encourage better email security etiquette across the workforce.
The final touch on the bundle is Barracuda Forensics and Incident Response. This product harnesses automation to enable you to act quickly if an attack slips through the net. Of course, the quicker the response, the less damage that is done, making this a highly valuable tool in your arsenal. Its capabilities include automated incident response, fast click-through remediation, automatic inbox threat removing, and real-time reporting and forensics. With these in tow, you can quickly and effectively respond to attacks and keep their spread to a minimum.
Admittedly, cybersecurity is more of an ominous topic than it ever has been before. Fuelled by the pandemic and remote working, attackers are taking the opportunity to sink their teeth into as many businesses as possible. With Barracuda, however, organisations can be more confident in their security as well as their employees to keep malicious actors out of their inboxes and keep your assets safe.