Email may sound old school, but it’s still one of the top communication methods for businesses and individuals. However, it’s also commonly used to spread malware and ransomware.
We constantly work to make email security a priority. From phishing scams to malicious downloads, the risks vary greatly. The good thing is there is one ultimate best practice to improve email security.
A Look Inside Email Security
According to the 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report by Verizon, 94 percent of malware is delivered by email. The top malicious email attachment types are .doc and .dot which make up 37 percent; the next highest is .exe at 19.5 percent. (Symantec)
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently issued a public service announcement sharing that, “Over US $43 billion has been lost through Business Email Compromise attacks since 2016.”
In another study, 76% of businesses stated they’d experienced phishing attacks. One statistic we found particularly horrifying was the average person receives 16 malicious emails monthly.
Since malicious messages often pose as legitimate messages, email is an easy way to hijack networks and steal data. All a hacker needs to do is gain control of a single email account to send seemingly innocent messages to co-workers. Malicious links and attachments can then wreak havoc on the entire business network.
Email Security Best Practice
The single best email security practice to implement is regular employee training. Yes, we have plenty of other best practices as well, but this is by far the most important.
For instance, if a business focuses on stronger passwords, this won’t prevent an employee from downloading malware via an email attachment. It may prevent hackers from breaking in as easily, but not from installing malware.
Monthly or even weekly email security training sessions are crucial for teaching employees how to avoid all types of dangerous email tricks. These could be quick video lessons or even quizzes with sample emails. Some businesses even have contests where they send out fake malicious emails to see if employees catch them or not.
Other Best Practices
We always believe that the right training is the best defense, but we also use several other best practices ourselves. Some other email security best practices to implement include:
- Stronger passwords that aren’t used anywhere else
- Avoid sending attachments and use cloud services instead
- Ensure the URL in emails are associated with the business or individual it claims to be from.
- Be alert to hyperlinks in the emails that may contain misspellings of any kind.
- Implement strong email filters to keep as much spam out as possible
- Use email encryption services for sensitive business data, especially for mobile users
Businesses don’t have to fear email. Contact us today to find out how we can help you implement better email security practices.