Email Security Implementation

Among the many forms of cyber attacks, emails remain one of the most notoriously popular means of delivering malware. Phishing, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other malicious files find their way through unsolicited emails. As such, email security plays a vital role in protecting yourself from today's many online threats.

According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report for 2019, almost a third of all security breaches during the year were phishing attacks. In case you didn't know, phishing attacks refer to malicious emails that trick users into submitting personal data to cyber criminals. This happens when attackers disguise malicious content as a legitimate website. Today these type ofattacks are increasingly becoming problematic because of the tools and templates available.

It is not just phishing, but other forms of cyberattacks like ransomware and spyware continue to be a significant issue. Particularly when it comes to emails. The wide availability of different tools and methods means that more users are likely to fall victim for these attacks. As such, it could be catastrophic in the case ofa business environment.

Emails service providers have already recognized the importance of upgrading security features. Therefore, these services now come with more security implementations than they did a few years ago. For example, if you use Gmail you would have noticed the "virus-free - from avast" email signature.
What you need to know about email security implementation?

But email security implementation goes far beyond an email service's default security features. Spam protection and antivirus scanning are only two mechanisms of email security. Here are a few other important ones to note.

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

    This is an email authentication method that specifies the mail servers authorized to send an email for your domain. SPF helps protect your domain from spoofing. Furthermore, it helps ensure that messages are delivered as intended. Mail servers that get mail from your domain use SPF to verify that they actually are from yourdomain.

    In case you didn't know, spoofing is when spammers forge your domain/organization to send fake messages that appear to come from your company. Spoofed messages can be used for malicious purposes. For example, spoofing can prompt communication of false information, harmful software to unsuspecting users, or to trick people into giving out sensitive information. SPF helps receiving servers verify that mail sent from your domain is actually from your organization and is sent by a mail server authorized by you.

    Additionally, SPF helps prevent messages from your domain from being delivered to spam. It is not uncommon to see legitimate emails get tagged as spam by email service providers. It becomes even more problematic if its an official email. If your domain does not use SPF, receiving mail servers can't verify that messages appearing to be from your domain actually are from you. Receiving servers might send valid messages to recipient's spam folders or might reject valid messages.

  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)standard

    This standard allows for a company to take responsibility emails in transit. DKIM helps validate a domain name identity that is associated with a message via cryptographic authentication. As the official documentation states, "DKIM attaches a new domain name identifier to a message and uses cryptographic techniques to validate authorization for its presence. The identifier is independent of any other identifier in the message, such in the author's From field."

    Simply put, would help curb spoofing of outgoing emails from your domain. DKIM adds an encrypted signature to the header of all outgoing messages. Email servers that get signed messages use DKIM to decrypt the message header and verify the message was not changed after it was sent.

  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) policy

    DMARC helps email senders and receivers verify incoming messages by authenticating the sender's domain. DMARC also defines the action to take on suspicious incoming messages.

    There are two points topass the DMARC check. First, incoming messages must be authenticated by SPF and/or DKIM. Therefore, users would need to set up SPF and DKIM prior to focusing on DMARC since DMARC checks are triggered when messages do not go through SPF or DKIM. Afterwards, the authenticated domain must align with the domain in the message From header address.

    In case you're curious, you can check here for more details on DMARC.

What can C-YBER do?

As a Google Partner C-YBER recommends using GSuite for Email as it is equipped with some of the best Email Security features available. GSuite for Email offers crucial security features such as the ones specified above. Furthermore, Google's machine learning models would help keep many of the spam, phishing, and malware away from users. Some of it's other notable features include,

  • Data loss protection for Gmail

  • S/MIME encryption: You can Add S/MIME signatures for all outbound emails for additional security

  • TLS server-to-server encryption

Having said that, having GSuite for Email is not an absolute must (although we recommend it). Additionally, C-YBER can also implement email security for any other email service providers as well. So what are you waiting for, get in touch with us today!