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One of the earliest modes of communication that the internet made possible was email, and while other messaging tools have come and gone, the simple email remains a powerful asset to any business. The email inbox has replaced the open door for cyber-based enterprises and is responsible for most of the business done by many organizations.
Unfortunately, there are malicious actors who see email traffic as a means of preying on the unsuspecting public with ingenious digital weapons such as spam, malware, ransomware, and phishing.
As your Managed IT Support Services Team, Beringer can help mitigate these threats with effective products that defend your inbox from malicious intent. Ask us what Beringer’s Easy Spam Filter can do for your company’s email security.
Phishing attacks generally cast a wide net to trap a broad range of people in hopes that some of them will volunteer vital information that will allow the senders to penetrate their defenses, accessing personal files or accounts. These malicious operators will also conduct “spear-phishing” attacks that target a specific person within an organization. They have already learned enough information to specify the target’s name, title, email address, and possibly the company functions which that person controls. This is phishing fine-tuned to convince one specific target that the malicious email is from a friendly source.
Some bad actors can produce an email that looks like it is coming from a specific source, though that’s a false ID. Most of us have received emails that look like they came from our bank, a government agency, or even family members. They use actual logos, easily captured from any organization’s advertising outreach, and their graphic artists can duplicate the style and markings that would be used in a genuine email. This malicious email then asks for account numbers or convinces the recipient to download a file that the recipient’s defenses assume is a legitimate, permitted communication. With the “doors” thrown wide open, the malicious agent can install itself in the target system and execute whatever task it has been programmed to.
Malicious email can not only come from outside sources but can also originate within an organization’s email structure. Whether intentional or not, one employee can send an email to another employee or group of team members that contains an actual threat to the entire system. The originating team member could be duped into spreading something that looks innocent, such as humorous content or cute pictures, that are embedded with undetected malware. Or an attack could be deliberate, perhaps from a departing employee. Sometimes a threat successfully penetrates the defenses, and this can be detected when it tries to access unauthorized areas of the system.
Much media attention has been focused on ransomware, a threat that hijacks an organization’s entire IT system and encrypts all the company’s vital files so that the owners of that data can no longer access it. A ransom demand is then issued stating that the victims must pay for the key to the encryption that holds their business or institution hostage. Too many victims surrender and pay the ransom, which only encourages the malicious actors to continue practicing this form of attack.