Email security is critical to preventing advanced ransomware attacks.

Since the advent of email, phishing attacks have become a problem. Attackers are looking for any opening to gain access to an organization’s infrastructure to reap substantial financial rewards.

After malware threat actors infect machines and networks of organizations using phishing emails, the attacks spread laterally. Access is sold to a ransomware broker. According to Verizon Data Breach Investigations’ Report 2022, web applications and emails remain the two most common vectors of breaches.

Cyber Security Hub’s survey of the top trends in cyber-security for 2022 reveals that social engineering and phishing attacks are amongst the biggest threats to organizations today. More than 70% of respondents named it one of the top three threats they face (see Figure 1).

Cyber Research Labs reported that in 2021 48 governments from 21 countries were affected by ransomware.

This Cyber Security Hub article will teach you how to identify the most common vulnerabilities for email users, detect security breaches before they lead to email fraud and data loss, and stop threat actors from launching successful attacks. This article will explore the best practices for email security today.

Email security is essential. Please do not ignore it.

As the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) economy matures, ransomware gangs demonstrate supreme confidence in their debilitating actions.

Conti Group held Costa Rica’s Government Hostage, demanding a US$20m Ransom, and threatened to overthrow the government if they were not met. Email can also be a vector for other attacks, such as spam, botnets, and business email compromise.

A report by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation from May 2022 shows that BEC frauds caused a loss of $43bn to both domestic and international US organizations between June 2016 and December 2022. The FBI received alerts about more than 240 000 BEC incidents during that period.

Verizon also reported a 13% increase in ransomware breaches by 2022. Email still needs to be addressed by many companies around the world.

During the initial phase of an attack, low-level data could be targeted. Ultimately, groups want to steal sensitive data that influences their targeting.

Human resources (HR) is a good example. Hackers may pretend to be job seekers, hoping HR personnel open emails or attachments from unknown senders. This allows the ransomware spread. The attackers then gain access to sensitive and confidential company information.

This article will discuss additional security tactics you can use besides the standard security stack.

How to combat evolving ransomware threats

Attackers will always seek new ways to demonstrate their criminal skills. Telephone-oriented attack distribution (TOAD) is one such method. It does not use a payload but instead uses a number that, when called by a bad actor, will direct the victim to download malicious content manually, infecting their computers with ransomware.

Organizations need to play the game as if the rules of the game will never change. They can deter ransomware gangs by adding layers to their security strategy.

Email compromises are increasing exponentially due to increasingly sophisticated methods, including automation, that go beyond scanning, blocking, and identifying the bad actors who send messages.

Addition of layers, such as DMARC authentication, to stop email fraud and BEC at its source. Implementation of isolation training for users who are at risk that is aligned with their email risks. Isolation of URLs clicked from emails. Other methods include automatic remediation after delivery of malicious emails, abuse-mailbox automation, and enhanced data protection like email DLP and encrypted.

Everyone is a Target

Threat actors target everyone in a company – from interns to CEOs – to gain access to ransomware. Accessing even a tiny part of a company using a compromised account can be devastating. The malicious actors can escalate their privileges until they can control the entire enterprise network of a business.

Best practices for alerting organizations

Implementing a comprehensive email security plan is easy, but employees will need to use strong passwords and email encryption on both the email content and attachments. Companies that permit employees to access corporate email via personal devices should also follow security best practices.

Organizations should not send emails before they are checked and use malware sandbox analyses inline to protect their employees from advanced threats. Businesses should implement software that scans incoming emails and blocks those with malicious software.

A compromised email account can cause significant damage to the company, whether through data loss or by launching attacks against other users or internal employees. A cloud access security broker solution (CASB) can be used to identify and rectify potentially suspicious logins.

A joint integration with vendors of identity access management can help organizations reset passwords automatically if credentials are compromised. Proofpoint’s security experts suggest that users targeted by attacks should be subjected to stricter authentication.

Firms can implement a data protection solution to protect sensitive data from email loss. It is possible because malware developers lease out their expertise to affiliates that use turnkey solutions to infect the victims. It is easier for less-skilled criminals, who are more likely to be able to profit from the situation, to take over enterprise networks that have military-grade encryption. They can then demand millions of dollars for the key.

Understand the risks and act.

Organizations need to be more aware of the threats that they face. They should also ensure their employees are educated and protected against the dangers they may encounter.

Understanding ransomware risks and details will allow organizations to change their approach to prevent attacks.

There are solutions, and choosing the right partners can help organizations focus on their goals. Proofpoint’s TAP Dashboard, for example, helps organizations understand their security postures in their industry, which employees are being targeted, and what malware threats they face.

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