Answering ‘What Is Email Security’ Is The Essential Step To Begin With In Secure Email Communication
First of all, let’s see what email security is. Email security implies securing one’s incoming and outgoing email messages from being intercepted by an unauthorized third party. This third party comprises of the hackers, cyber criminals etc.,who develop cunning ways of reading your emails and using the confidential information contained therein for their monetary gains.
Your information, once stolen, can be put up by the attackers on the dark web for sale, which can then be used for blackmailing you or demanding a ransom. In some cases, it could simply mean the disappearance of the money in your bank accounts because of the breach of your bank or card details, or other serious crimes like identity theft.
Information Security & Emails
The term information security is inclusive of all sorts of information and assuring that they are secured and away from the access of any unauthorized party or organization. The data could be anything and in any form – whether online or offline. Email security in information security is essential since most communication takes place via emails these days. In addition to the conventional methods, technologies such as end-to-end encryption are an inevitable component in the most secure scenarios.
Such concerns about email security in cryptography spheres can go a long way in securing your sensitive and confidential information as it will render the data unreadable for hackers even if they manage to break into your emails. There is no doubt that mails are prone to attacks and vicious attempts of intrusion by malicious attackers in the cyber world. Hence, there arises a fundamental question that needs to be answered before you look at email security solutions. And that is, Why are emails not secure? Emails get intercepted or hacked into because of either of the two reasons:
- The lack of safety measures on the part of the email service provider.
- The lack of safeguards on the part of the user.
Types Of Email Security
Emails stand a risk of not just being intercepted; in recent times, emails have been in extensive use as a medium of launching phishing and other malware attacks. Usually, cyber-attacks that spread through emails have a familiar pattern. The attackers impersonate someone known to the recipient, like his/her superior from office or a friend or confidant, and then send them emails with fake issues that seemingly require immediate attention.
At times, the emails are purported to be from online service providers like PayPal, and these emails contain attachments and links, which, once opened, can install Trojan, malware or ransomware into one’s computer. It can cripple the system, disrupt activity, and lead to enormous losses for the victim.
Hence, despite the widespread use and dependency on emails, one cannot assure oneself that one is communicating via the safest mode.
How To Secure Emails?
Since emails are the gateway to establishing a rapport or striking a deal with any organization, it is of utmost importance to ensure email security. In case it is an individual or a household whose security is at stake, then following the below-listed safeguards might prove beneficial:
Having a strong password
Although birth dates and favorite things or phone numbers are easy to remember, they are also easily predictable. And hence, all websites and applications advise their users to have a secure and robust login password in today’s world. It isn’t done to say that the application is inefficient in terms of privacy and security but more to say that nothing is ever secure enough to withhold an attacker’s access to accounts, passwords, or anything else. A password should contain alphanumeric characters, including small letters, capital letters, and symbols – so that hackers cannot easily break into an account.
Changing passwords from time to time
It is always wise to keep changing passwords from time to time as password rotations make it difficult for attackers to get through.
Having some spam filter
Spam filters ensure that no unwanted emails reach the inbox of the user. Such email security services go a long way in ensuring that suspicious emails that contain malicious links or attachments get deleted before they make it to the inbox of the recipient.
However, for email service providers, the responsibility is slightly higher than individual users as any negligence on their part risks the safety of the millions of people they render their email services to. Hence, they must operate, making use of the most advanced tools to keep the valuable information resources of their clients secure. A client could expect the following email security features from their email service provider:
- An email service provider, too, must use strong passwords to reduce hackability.
- They must have specific control mechanisms on the email server.
- Yet another email security feature that a service provider must incorporate is the provision of encrypting and digitally signing email messages irrespective of whether they are in the receiver’s mailbox or transit to or from a subscriber email address.
- They must also establish firewalls and software-based spam filtering applications to eliminate any chance for unauthorized access or intrusion.
Consequences Of Vulnerability
The following are the typical results one can expect from hackers when one becomes negligent of the security of one’s email communication.
- Hackers steal sensitive personal information of users, such as their names, dates of birth, addresses, professions, credit card details, social security numbers, passwords, bank details, etc.
- Hackers also steal personal data of users and sell them on the dark web for thousands of dollars.
- They can blackmail victims and launch sextortion campaigns or the like in an attempt to extract a massive sum of money from the victim.
- They also infect the computer systems of the victim with ransomware so that all their online activity remains disrupted until they make the required payment. This type is more commonly seen among industries or large organizations.
Cyber attacks launched via email comprise many different types, such as ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, spear-phishing attacks, whaling, etc. But email serves as the ultimate channel of perpetration, directly or indirectly. Thus, the need to have a proper email security from various types of email security solutions to protect your digital information resources is immense for organizations and individual users as well!
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