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email security

Introduction to Email Security

Quick and effective communication between two or more persons or organizations is very common in the world of technology. Emails are the most widely used source of communication for personal or business purposes. Email is an electronic mail in which we send our data or messages in the form of packets by using TCP/IP protocol suites. But the question is whether the data transferred or received by us through email is secured or not? There are some common email threats due to which we need email security.

Threats to Email:-

  • Loss of confidentiality:- It is the assurance that information is not disclosed to unauthorized individuals. Emails, when left unprotected can be accessed by unauthorized accounts and that can be quite destructive. A failure to confidentiality, commonly known as a breach, typically cannot be remedied.
  • Phishing Emails:- Phishing is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data that contains confidential information. Phishing attacks often target organizations or individuals that take care of sensitive information in any business. Email phishing scams are carried out online by ethical or identity theft hackers. They use fake websites that look identical to the real sites, emails and instant messages to deceive users. A phishing email is a kind of spam email that is sent out specifically, to trick users to share their personal details like, debit/credit card details, bank account details, passwords, etc. Thus one should be very careful while using the internet and accessing emails in your inbox.
  • Spam Emails:- Spam is a kind of unwanted, unsolicited email that is usually sent in bulk by spammers. Spammers usually send such emails to a long list of recipients, in the hope that at least a few of them will respond back. The intention behind sending these spam emails is to simply attract recipients into buying dubious products or participate in fraudulent and quasi-legal schemes. Some spam emails are made by hackers to ask victim recipients to confirm passwords or to share their confidential information. Spam emails are highly dangerous and can cost a company millions to recover from such security breaches.
  • DOS attack:- DOS means a “denial of service” attack that has become very common. It is made to block a company’s or an individual’s email server to interfere with their usual operations. The continuous DOS attacks on the mail server give way to a large volume of incoming unstable emails and attachments and can cause a lot of inconveniences and loss of data.
  • Email spoofing:- Email spoofing is a very common technique to fool an individual by sending an email with a forged sender address. These types of emails come from an address that is similar to one of the email addresses present in the user’s contact list.

Solutions:-

We need some preventive measures to protect us from the influences of email threats. These are some solutions:-

  1. Make sure that you have double-checked the recipients’ addresses so that the information does not go to the wrong place. Never confuse yourself between ‘Reply’ and ‘Reply All’ buttons. Always check the CC or BCC addresses before sending the email. Once you have sent an email to the wrong address it can’t be reversed.
  2. Always encrypt email using an e-mail encryption software. If you send confidential email without encryption, it may be intercepted or read by the hackers. The use of mail filter software in mail transfer agents may also help to organize the flow of incoming emails. Email filtering software rejects unwanted items at the initial SMTP(Simple mail transfer protocol) connection stage.
  3. Make sure that your account is protected by multi-factor authentication. It makes harder for a scammer to log into your accounts even if they get your username and password.
  4. Implement the use of Anti-virus, anti-spam, URL filtering, and authentication-based filtering software. Avoid the use of public wifi. Try to use your own internet with VPN turned on.
  5. Never click on links or open attachments which include in emails from unknown senders. Create strong passwords and change the password at regular intervals.
  6. Protect your data by backing it up. Regularly backing up your data ensures that you have more than one copy of your data. You can copy your emails to an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Even after all these precautions, always keep in mind that emails should be sent and received with mindfulness. Hackers may find a way to penetrate your security system. To avoid any destructive effect, we should try not to send highly sensitive information such as payments, credit card data, social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information over an email.

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