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Global email users are estimated to reach around 4.6 billion in 2025, and digital marketers are reveling in this news. Email marketing continues to be one of the communication channels with the highest ROI in 2021, and this fact does not appear to change in the near future.
Along with the promotional opportunities that email marketing offers digital marketers, there are a number of security challenges. It is estimated that around 91% cyber attacks start with phishing emails. This, in turn, increases the need to install a robust security system against cyber attacks.
Below are the top threats that email marketers are likely to face in 2021 and how they can combat them.
Phishing emails and web attacks aren’t new, but they registered unprecedented rates in 2021. Statistics show that there were 27% more phishing sites (over 2,145,000) in January 2021 compared to the previous year.
Phishing attacks occur when a user opens an email and clicks on a link, which then initiates the installation of a malware source. Later, the malware will freeze the operations of the computer or the hacker will have the gateway to steal private credentials or gain access to all user accounts.
Potential victims receive realistic emails, with a design and communication style that mimics real formal communication. Therefore, many organizations around the world are actively practicing mechanisms for training employees so that they can identify and avoid suspicious emails.
Related: Is this Instagram email a phishing attack? Now you can find out
Protection against phishing
EasyDMARC is cybersecurity SaaS, which aims to prevent email phishing and unauthorized use of domains for corporate environments. By placing the DMARC DNS record on the corporate domain, users get periodic reports on the top email security threats for a particular domain and instructions for improving protection.
Identity Theft and Account Taken Attacks (ATO)
Identity theft and takeover (ATO) attacks allow hackers to gain access to the victim’s accounts. This can often pose a threat to user’s financial accounts as fraudsters acquire account credentials for banks, e-commerce sites, etc.
Gartner Identifies Office 365 Account Redemption as one of the increasingly popular techniques of email hackers. Attackers send phishing emails masquerading as the Office 365 administrator asking the user to sign in and reset their password. The user is the victim of the scam and enters their credentials and the attacker saves the credentials and uses them to log into the account. Additionally, phishing emails go viral through internal mailboxes across the organization.
ATOs are difficult to detect because they appear to come from trusted people within the organization. In more advanced hacks, the hacker manipulates the broken account’s notifications, causing the real owner to ignore suspicious activity occurring under their name.
Proofpoint Email Fraud Defense (EFD) provides authentication for all inbound and outbound electronic communications. The integration of EFD secures both internal communication between members of the same organization and external communication between the company and its partners or customers. EFD has deception features – a common point of attack for attempted account takeovers (ATOs) – that automatically block similar domains that email account owners aren’t using.
Related: This privacy tool integrates with your email for added security
A formally written email that gently invites the recipient to learn more about the attached document may seem innocent at first glance. However, the popularity of attachment-based email attacks leaves room for caution.
A common attachment-based threat is ransomware, where hackers encrypt their victims’ data and charge them to restore it. Another common threat is the keylogger. After the user clicks on the malware attachment and the keylogger is issued, it starts logging all the keys that users enter for their various accounts.
Common email attachment formats that should be rechecked before clicking include .iso and .exe. files.
These are just a few email security alerts that digital marketers are likely to face. However, along with technological development, new types of email security attacks can arise and can be difficult to predict in advance. That’s why email security integrations should be a regular practice, especially for large businesses.
Related: Email security tips for a corporate environment