Cybercrime is becoming increasingly complex and evolving with higher scopes. Phishing attacks may have existed since the dawn of email. But, with the faster digital transformation of business operations, attacks on emails and via emails continue to soar. That makes organizations practice good email security solutions for preventing attacks.
One such email threat is ransomware, which attacks vulnerable spots like emails to break into an organization’s infrastructure to gain control of digital business assets and steal credentials, passwords, and financial records. So much so that these attacks have become a huge business opportunity; one of the ways to help is by installing good email security; it can help organizations to prevent advancing ransomware attacks.
Good Words for Enhancing Email Security Against Ransomware
An organization needs to follow email safety best practices on priority.
Wrongly opened emails can provide access to ransomware threat actors to send emails internally or externally. Stolen email credentials are the soft targets to hit emails or use email networks to enter organizational assets.
Here are practical recommendations for businesses to tighten email security solutions against advancing ransomware attacks.
Access to emails is the easiest and fastest way for ransomware threats to enter. Organizations must stay alert on email access policies and ensure employees, including administrators, use multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA helps mitigate the exploitation of stolen email credentials and prevent account takeover, a common objective of ransomware attackers.
Also Read: The Imperative of Customer Trust in Cybersecurity
Updating of email authentications should be a normal process, and it should always be aligned to upgraded systems supporting digital transformational technologies like AI email automation. Security leaders must disable legacy protocol authentications such as IMAP, POP3, and SMTP.
Regular email audits can help emails remain ransomware attack-free. Organizations must continuously practice mailbox audits, including access allowance, logging information, duration of login time, and IP addresses.
Integration with SOAR and SIEM Technologies
Email security solutions, when integrated with security information and event management (SIEM) and automation and response (SOAR) capabilities, the capabilities allow in-depth analysis of data and automate response actions. These capabilities encounter multistage and multivector ransomware attacks efficiently. Organizations to leverage these for email security may need platforms that align the security infrastructure while automating critical workflows across the various email security capabilities.
Threat intelligence guides security teams to develop effective email security solutions and feeds them to day-to-day security actions to prevent, detect, and respond to the latest ransomware-based email threats. Here are a few recommendations when organizations need to evaluate email security solutions:
- Does the vendor provide email platform visibility into email-based threats, the life cycle of threats beyond email, and security domains outside of email
- Have the vendors deployed sensor networks for data collection?
- How does the organizational threat research team identify zero-day threats?
- What is the feedback range that exists for newly detected email-based attacks?
How Email Security Solutions Function to Prevent and Respond to Ransomware
Email security solutions function to process incoming emails efficiently to determine potential ransomware attacks. Here are the ways to prevent, detect, and respond to ransomware attacks at scale.
Inbound Email Security
The security solutions include numerous verification and checks, inspections, analyses, filtering, and detection of malicious emails. The highlighted areas that organizations should consider are the inspection of email URLs, sender and message inspection, and assessment of attachments. Following are the suggestions that secure inbound emails from dangerous ransomware attacks:
Advanced Sandbox Inspection of Attachments
One essential guidance for organizations is to employ advanced capabilities such as sandboxing to analyze file attachments and links within for indications that a given file contains ransomware. These tools are well-suited for email attachments that have not been received before. The analysis tools integrate with email security solutions.
Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR)
Internal Traffic Inspection
Organizations must adopt email security controls for internal email traffic and accesses. Internal email traffic may become the source of ransomware threat attacks and associated risks.
Reputation Checks of Sender and SPF/DKIM/DMARC
Organizations must review sender reputation and threat detection checks on incoming emails. Determining the required checks and inspections on incoming emails is vital to ensure the sender is authentic, and security leaders need to enable DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), and Domain-based Message Authentication to counter spoofing by validating the sender’s authenticity.
Also Read: Whaling Attacks: Tactics, Consequences, and Prevention
Outbound Email Security Recommendations
Email security solutions can also play a role in preventing ransomware attacks by successfully removing data sent through ransomware campaign emails, thus diverting the impact of the attack and mitigating account takeovers. Integrating data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities into email security solutions build a robust solution for organizations.
Effectiveness of Email Security Solutions
The addition of layers such as DMARC email authentication is a way of preventing email fraud or Business Email Compromise (BEC). The authentication implements isolation training for risks that align with email risk or isolated URLs received on an email. Other methods include Msoar. It automatically remediates ransomware messages that affect mailbox automation and enhances data protection, such as email DLP and encryption.
With the several practices cited above, it’s vital to understand the real-time efficacy of cloud-native controls or third-party secure email solutions advancing ransomware threats. Attacks will always look for new avenues to exhibit their criminal acts. Organizations need to be ready every time to overcome altering ransomware attacks. Adding layers to email security strategies can help prevent ransomware attacks accurately.
While there is no single solution for the email security challenges, the risks are rising due to ransomware. However, robust methods such as automation, scanning, audits, detection, and predictive analytics are key ways to mitigate attacks and their impacts.
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