Information Security Services, Threat Assessment, Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

Cyber Security Basics - Part 2

Cyber Security Basics Part - 2: e-mail Security

In the previous article Since they have been introduced, e-mails have changed the way people communicate. Gone are the days of snail mail, when letters used to take days to be delivered. More, if you were to send international mail.

The prolific use of e-mails has brought about its own share of security threats. Here are a few concerns that need to be addressed while dealing with e-mail.

Virus / Trojan
A virus / Trojan are malicious snippets of script that can disrupt your system or worse, steal your data. Viruses / Trojans come in many forms and from several sources. As far as e-mail is concerned, viruses typically enter your system through infected attachments. That is why you need to be careful when opening e-mail attachments. Not only from strangers, but from people you know as well. Virus infected e-mails typically start sending mails at an alarming rate – typically promotional. This not only impedes your routine, authentic communication, but can also result in your IP getting blacklisted by service providers. Once that happens, your e-mails just stop working.

Traditionally, employees have worked in-house using hardware and software provided by the company. But the expansion of e-mail capable gadgets has resulted in employees using their personal devices to send official e-mails or in some cases, even work from home. This presents major cyber security challenges that are better tackled by professionals.

It is also worth noting that malicious code is not always hidden. Hackers may corrupt files that you would recognize and typically consider safe, so you should take utmost precaution.

The nightmare of every enterprise, the now ubiquitous spam presents its own challenges.
So, what exactly is spam? Spam, or junk mail, is unsolicited mail. Spam is typically sent by enterprises that want to offer their services or products. Studies indicate that as much of 25% of corporate e-mails in Canada is spam. In a year, companies can receive billions of spam mails, not only slowing down official communication, but also consuming Internet bandwidth unnecessarily. According to information security experts in Ontario and Toronto, the losses due to spam run in billions of dollars every year in Canada.

Using strong filters is a good way of catching spam e-mail before it reaches your inbox.

Phishing is the practice of sending official sounding mails in order to get sensitive and personal user data. Phishing is a malicious and fraudulent activity that can result in financial and personal disaster.
Phishers often pose as "official" entities and send mails from URLs that look very close to the official URLs. Say your bank account is in Toronto, Canada. You may receive a phishing e-mail from someone with an URL very similar to the official bank URL. Unless you are very vigilant, chances are you will treat it as official bank communication, maybe from your Toronto branch. While most phishing campaigns are aimed at individuals and private email addresses, there are some bold attackers that target corporate entities.  If they succeed, the company stands to lose not only financially, but also their credibility.

Importance of Cyber Security
E-mails are the heart and soul of corporate communication today. It is very important to maintain the integrity of your communication. Too many instances of spamming / virus infections from your company, and your credibility goes for a toss. Not to mention the strain it puts on your servers. It is therefore necessary to guard your e-mail communication properly. Using anti-virus software is one of the basic cyber security precautions you should take. But if you are a corporate entity, you should definitely consider professional cyber security services or the services of IT security providers to safeguard your corporate communication.

You may also like to read: