Cyber Security

Top 9 Email Based Security Threats in 2020

What are Email Threats?

There are so many different kinds of email threats. Therefore it is hard to give one definition for email threats.

Some of the common email threats come through deception, impersonation of trusted entities, and exploitation of private information to encourage people to click on links or download attachments.

Once these attachments are downloaded, malware can be installed.

Email Threats in 2020

There are different types of attacks occur in 2020. But few stand out more than others in terms of their danger.

1) Spam

Although spam might seem harmless, if left in the wrong hand, spam poses a serious risk to data security.

Emil bombing is one of the popular forms of spam. Since email bombing treats spam emails as a Trojan horse, it proves to be especially pernicious.

With email bombing, the intended target is inundated with messages, many of them are confirmation emails.

Once a hacker has a victim’s email address, they run a script to sign the victim up for as many unprotected sites as possible.

When victims’ inbox is flooded, they are less likely to notice unusual notification or malicious behavior.

This enables the hacker to gain access to the victim’s accounts and operate undetected.

2) Phishing

Here, there are two specialized forms of phishing as Spear phishing and Whaling.

Spear phishing means that the attack is highly targeted vs an internet-wide phishing scam.

Since confidential data is routinely shared inside a company firewall between employees, this form of attack is especially insidious to corporations.

Whaling tricks the victims’ email to think that it comes from a high-level executive.

Since the email received from cooperating officers, the victim thinks it needs immediate action.

This may include the creation of purchase orders or approval of an urgent check that needs to be written.

3) Viruses

A virus is a type of computer program designed to infiltrate and wreak havoc on existing systems by adding its own malicious code called a payload.

Once a virus gained access to a system, it executes its payload.

This virus can erase an organizations’ hard drive, corrupt files, or steal passwords depending on the nature of the virus.

04) Ransomware

Ransomware is another form of malware used to encrypt a victims’ file. It is one of the most prevalent forms of cyber-attack.

According to cybersecurity experts at Norton, there are five types of ransomware.

  1. Ransomware as a service
  2. Crypto malware
  3. Scareware, which mimics the appearance of antivirus software.
  4. Doxware, which threatens to publish private or confidential information in exchange for a ransom.
  5. Lockers, so named because they lock you out of your computer.

05) Insider Threats

Here sometimes the call is coming from inside the house.

Certain employees have access to sensitive data depending on their role within the company.

All it takes is one disgruntled employee for an organization to find itself in the middle of a data breach.

A former Chicago Public School employee who stole a personal database containing information about 70,000 people in retaliation for being fired is an example of an insider threat.

06) Domain name spoofing

In a spoofing attack, the hacker replaces the domain name or email address in the sender or reply-to address of an email.

Here when a user sees a ‘trusted sender’, they are more likely to click a malicious link in the email.

Another form of spoofing is changing the domain name in an embedded URL directly, swapping ‘PayPal’ with a final lowercase L to ‘PayPal’ with a final uppercase L.

A serious result of URL or domain name spoofing is called as ‘identity theft’. Here, the user inadvertently clicks on a link that takes them to a site that appears identical to the site they expect to go to.

After the user login, the attacker gain access to the user’s account.

07) Malware

Malware can send through an email.

In this type of email, there is an attachment, and the email subject field is blank or email asks you to confirm or review information using an attachment.

Once you download the email attachment, a piece of malware will be downloaded into your computer.

08) Darknet Email Threat

This is a common scam which someone emails you pretending to be a person from the darknet (underground part of the internet).

The sender will send email saying that they hacked your email and asking for money to keep the information safe without sending details to other all contacts.

09) Poor password hygiene

We continue to reuse some passwords over and over again, although security experts warned employees to use strong passwords.

Hackers know this and they take advantage of re-using passwords to gain access to small business accounts and private details such as bank account details of the users.

Conclusion

The cyber criminals or hackers use a variety of tricks and tools to target organizations with malware for financial gain and other motives.

Taking precautions to secure your data can help you not to become prey to cyber-attackers.

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