Cybercriminals commonly use email to deliver malware, such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware, and launch social engineering attacks such as phishing. In fact, about 91% of cyberattacks start with an email message.
It’s no surprise then that cybersecurity company Proofpoint reported that email is today’s top advanced threat vector. This means email is the number one entry point used by cybercriminals to break into IT networks. Once they gain unauthorized access to company networks, cybercriminals could steal sensitive information, such as customer data or intellectual property.
These statistics highlight the importance of enhancing email security. To better secure your company’s email system, follow these six tips:
1. Apply encryption
Make sure to encrypt your company emails and the connection between servers. Encryption converts plain-text information into an unreadable format that can only be decoded using a decryption key. With encryption, cybercriminals won’t be able to read your emails even if they manage to intercept these.
2. Stay away from public Wi-Fi networks
Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi networks since they are unsecured and open to anyone, which makes them attractive targets for cybercriminals. If you access your company email while connected to public Wi-Fi, cybercriminals may be able to intercept your emails and steal sensitive information.
If you have no choice but to use a public Wi-Fi network, make sure to connect to a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN will encrypt your data and mask your IP address to keep your online activities private.
3. Create strong passwords
The most recent National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) password requirements focus on password length rather than complexity. NIST says that passwords must have at least eight characters since long passwords are harder to crack than short ones.
NIST also no longer recommends passwords that use a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. This is because such complexity makes passwords hard to remember, which leads to poor user behavior, such as:
- Reusing the same complex password across multiple accounts
- Using iterations of the same complex password for different accounts
- Writing down passwords on paper
It’s best to use a password manager to generate and securely store strong passwords for you. A password manager can also help you assess your organization’s password health. It will flag any weak, duplicate, or exposed passwords that are stored in your company account.
4. Enable multifactor authentication (MFA)
MFA is an authentication technique that requires users to provide more than one proof of identity. This additional requirement helps prevent hackers from accessing your email account even if they manage to steal your login credentials. Some common MFA methods include:
- Answers to security questions
- One-time passwords
- Fingerprint or facial scans
- Smart cards or hardware tokens
5. Implement email and spam protection
You need to subscribe to an email/spam protection service that scans your company inbox and detects and blocks malicious URLs, attachments, and content. This can protect your employees from spam messages, phishing scams, malware-laced emails, and other email-based attacks.
6. Conduct security awareness training for your employees
Your employees need to be aware of the security risks associated with email, such as phishing scams and malware-laced emails. They should also know how to safely use email, which includes being wary about clicking links and downloading attachments in emails. Make sure to train them how to spot suspicious emails and report a potential cyberattack.
When it comes to email security, it’s best to seek the help of cybersecurity experts like SpectrumWise. We offer comprehensive email protection that can effectively keep email security threats at bay. Book a FREE consultation with us today.