Email is the most common and strongest method of communication on the Internet, maybe even on the planet. It’s built into almost everything, from phones and tablets to traditional computers to gaming devices, even connected home appliances and cars can do email.
Emails in an organization serves a lot in sharing critical documents among employees, managers, HR, finance, sales, legal, customers, supply chain and more. However, it also attracts cyber criminals to trick employees through emails. It’s a lot easy to target a user with a spoofed email or phishing attack, and trick them into opening a malicious attachment that appears to be legitimate.
With email representing an open, trusted channel that allows malware to piggyback on any document to infect a network, it’s often up to the organizations to adopt appropriate security strategies and best practices to prevent a company-wide attack.
So, here are some best practices to look before logging in to your email accounts:
Analyze the Attached Documents:
The most common way to inject malicious file to the organization’s network infrastructure is by distributing malicious file in an email attachment. As the majority of employee’s tasks include document sharing via email, they are most probably to be tricked to open such infected attachment.
However, we can eliminate such risk and propagation of malicious file to be spread in an organization’s network by analyzing the attachments before downloading them. Organizations are needed to comprehensively understand what documents are coming through their network, the types of files and structural problems, and what functional elements are attached that could represent a risk.
Stop relying on security systems to protect you 100%:
We do have security layers in organizations to protect against hacking attacks and malicious intruder to harm our systems. Many organizations use firewalls, anti-spam, antivirus, and even a sandbox, but somehow attackers are still able to bypass them. It’s obvious that current antivirus and other signature-based solutions are not stopping well-crafted, vastly targeted attacks, leaving gaping holes in defensive security architecture.
The old signature base detections are not enough to detect high end malicious files. As a single click on the attached infected document could be disastrous, there needs to be a ‘new baseline’ for security with innovation that eliminates specific threat vectors rather than the ‘catch all’ border protection that is failing.
Restricting File Attachments:
Dealing with Microsoft office files is a regular task for an employee, but there should be some rules that cover other file formats as well to determine if it’s expected file format for the employee or not. Moreover, employees often receive advertisement emails that contain promotional links. One should avoid clicking on such links and make sure that the sender email is familiar, as many hackers use such technique to trick user to download malicious file from such links.
However, each file should be opened or download before analyzing its relevance to the work. To prevent this threat in an organization, only specific files should be allowed to attach with an email.
Restricting personal devices for document transmission:
Conducting business functions from a personal device that also contain various applications in turn enables employees to potentially expose corporate data to information-stealing malware and unintentionally put the organization at risk of attack. Meanwhile, malware that can be transmitted via attachments to employee workplace can just as easily be transmitted via mobile devices. Moreover, many mobile devices are not well equipped with security solutions to prevent infected documents.
Therefore, malware from infected documents successfully downloaded on a company mobile device will have the similar access to sensitive information as it does on the corporate network.
As far as organizations are unable to take a look inside this critical threat, a newer version of communication and transmitting organizational documents should be invented to prevent such threats. Meanwhile, strengthening security policies is the best way to keep track of corporate data and its security.