Nowadays, our email addresses play a vital role when it comes to efficient email fraud prevention and detection. Email addresses are frequently used for a variety of online activities – from opening a bank account to creating a social media profile and running different types of errands. All things considered, we can affirm that providing an email address has become a primary part of the purchase process.

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Email addresses generate a massive supply of data which is ideal for email fraud prevention and detection. Every time you use your email address, you leave a trace. Eventually, those traces add up and will finally disclose behavioral data that will evaluate transaction risk.

While emails provide us a suitable and strong communications tool, they also provide hackers an easy way of manipulating potential victims, using classic bait-and-switch operations or sophisticated phishing schemes. To stay safe from these attacks, you first need to understand what they are, how exactly they work, and what you can do to prevent and detect them.

Most Common Types of Email Fraud

#1. PHISHING

Phishing is a malicious technique used by cyber criminals to gather sensitive information (credit card data, usernames and passwords, etc.) from users. The attackers pretend to be a trustworthy entity to bait the victims into trusting them and revealing their confidential data. The data gathered through phishing can be used for financial theft, identity theft, to gain unauthorized access to the victim’s accounts or to accounts they have access to, to blackmail the victim and more.Heimdal Cybersecurity Glossary

According to Check Point’s Brand Phishing Report for Q3 2020, email phishing was the most common type of branded phishing attacks, accounting for 44% of attacks. The brands that were largely used by attackers in fake phishing messages were Microsoft, DHL, and Apple.

#2. SPOOFING

This is a compromise attempt during which an unauthorized individual tries to gain access to an information system by impersonating an authorized user. For example, email spoofing is when cyber attackers send phishing emails using a forged sender address. You might believe that you’re receiving an email from a trusted entity, which causes you to click on the links in the email, but the link may end up infecting your PC with malware.Heimdal Cybersecurity Glossary

Normally, email spoofing attacks are emails that appear to come from a genuine email address when they were actually sent by malicious actors whose ultimate purpose is to trick you into opening the message and download a corrupted attachment. What’s more, email spoofing can turn into elaborate BEC schemes that can take months to unfold and often lead to huge financial and data losses.
Due to the fact that a mechanism for address authentication is not established by the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), email spoofing is still very common. While protocols and methods for email address authentication have been developed to combat this type of email fraud, the implementation of such frameworks seems to be moving slow.

#3. MALWARE WARNINGS

If you happen to receive an email that’s warning you about a malware infection on your devices, such as ransomware or a virus, it’s most likely a malware warning spam. Often, hackers offer you a solution to your problem and all you have to do is to provide some information or download an attachment. Don’t! Critical data can be stolen if a device is hacked, and significant harm can be done if an intrusion goes unnoticed.

Commonly, malware can be inserted into email attachments or in phishing links. Malware threats are getting more and more advanced and challenging to fight. In order to infiltrate and weaken IT systems, attackers often use sophisticated social engineering techniques.

Most email fraud prevention tools are limited to analyzing typical transaction data like names or addresses. Unfortunately, these are the easiest for hackers to trick. However, when this happens, their methods resort to patterns that are easy to identify, based on swiftness and form.

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Email communications are the first entry point into an
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How Ensuring Email Fraud Protection Keeps Your Company Safe

Taking all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your email accounts against attacks and impede all unauthorized access is crucial for you and your users. How do you ensure email fraud protection for your organization? I have a few suggestions below:

  • Conducting regular phishing attack tests

Your staff is your greatest protection against email threats, especially when it comes to phishing attacks – be them simple or more sophisticated, such as spear phishing. This significant risk of endpoint compromise can be avoided by staff who have learned to recognize phishing attempts.

  • Filtering spam

Since most email scams begin with unsolicited emails, you should consider taking the necessary steps to prevent spam from getting into your inbox. Most email apps and services include spam-filtering features, which can help you configure your email applications to filter spam.

  • Using multifactor authentication

In case the passwords of an email account are successfully compromised, multifactor authentication will deter malicious hackers from accessing the account and severely affecting your business.

  • Blocking email auto-forwarding

Blocking email auto-forwarding will make it harder for threat actors to gain access to your corporate or personal email accounts.

  • Using antivirus software and keeping it updated

Installing antivirus software on your computer should be mandatory. If it has an automatic update and an email scanning feature, even better, as they will make sure your protection against viruses is always up-to-date.

  • Using email security software

When it comes to securing the content of your emails and preventing them from being read by other parties, secure encrypted email is always a good idea. However, this practice alone is not enough. Therefore, you also need to consider an integrated cybersecurity solution, able to detect basic and advanced forms of email attacks. Like our Heimdal™ Email Fraud Prevention solution, the ultimate email protection against financial email fraud, C-level executive impersonation, phishing, insider threat attacks, and complex email malware.

  • Configuring your email client

There several ways you can configure your email client so you can be less vulnerable to email fraud. For example, you can configure your email program to view your emails as “text-only”. This will protect you from scams that abuse email HTML.

Wrapping It Up…

There are numerous steps an organization or individual can take towards email fraud prevention. They must keep a pulse on the current email fraud strategies and make sure their security policies and solutions can detect and remove threats as they evolve. It is equally as important to make sure that their employees understand the types of attacks they may face, the risks, and how to address them. Informed staff and properly secured systems are crucial when protecting your business from email fraud.

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