Our Long Collective Struggle To Secure Enterprise Email
Email is the oldest service on the Internet, launched in the 1970’s, it is older than the WWW or the World Wide Web itself for more than three decades. However, the fundamentals of sending and receiving email have not fundamentally changed, in fact, all the weaknesses of the email systems of the 70s are still hounding us today. In 1978, we witnessed the first spam email sent to thousands of corporate email users. The other threats such as malware and phishing through email followed soon after.
These threats take advantage of the basic foundation of email, which is accessibility and open-ended approach to transferring information. Security is never the foundation of email when it was first conceptualized by the fathers of the Internet. It is a direct product of the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), where scientists are able to communicate with one another the results of their experiments and research.
When email and the rest of the Internet became a “public sphere” as opposed to the initial “for military use only”, opportunity seekers look at it and found a new home when it comes to exploiting the weaknesses at the expense of unsuspecting users. The number of cyber attacks targeting countries and companies is increasing, and information security measures are now a matter of life and death for companies. At the same time, however, the combination of business and IT has progressed, and while numerous IT investments are required, the amount of investment in security is a reality. Similarly, many IT personnel are busy with various tasks, making it difficult to specialize in security measures.
Under such circumstances, effective use of security solutions is essential to obtain a safe and secure environment including business partners and customers. Above all, the most important point is how to secure the security of “mail” which is said to occupy 80 to 90% of the attack path. It goes without saying that even among the damage caused by cyber attacks, it is information leakage that brings fatal damage to companies. Targeted attack emails and emails such as phishing emails often use messages that spoof legitimate senders, such as business partners, financial institutions, and public organizations. And the reason why the damage globally has been increasing in the last two decades is that the methods for infecting the sentences and malware described in such malicious emails have been refined.
Is there a permanent solution?
As an attack method by email, attachment files of malware such as ransomware and URL spoofing (redirection) are often used. In the latter case, if you click on the URL link in the mail, you will be diverted to a falsified website, etc. and you will be forced to download malware, etc. And please be aware that in such email-based attacks, the pattern of spam emails, which was previously thought to cause no direct harm to the system, is rapidly increasing.
Spam email is an advertising email sent indiscriminately to an unspecified number of people, often referred to as “spam”. In the past, the damage caused by spam emails was such that sending many unnecessary emails interfered with business operations, and the effort for deletion would be unrelentingly costly. However, recently, in addition to these, as mentioned above, it has become a trigger for malware infection or is being used for phishing scams. Also, there are more cases where Botnet, which sends large-scale spam emails, is the source of ransomware.
There is no other defense but for users to develop a sense of doubt when receiving emails. A reasonable level of suspicion does not hurt, in fact, it is even safer to actually call the sender of the email to verify if that person actually sent an email. There is no system that can 100% prevent email risks, but there will always be a human standing in the way. The point of getting a network infected or a company falling for spear phishing is the human user of the system representing the company. All employees are the frontliners in all corporate IT security arrangement.
Julia Sowells951 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.