In 2015, there were a record-breaking nine mega breaches and, l 3.1 billion private records were leaked. Many of these were a result of email targeted cyber attacks such as trojans and ransomware.
Why Isn’t Email Secure?
When email was invented in the 1970s, it wasn’t created with security in mind. Although technology has advanced tenfold since it’s invention, it is still lacking the basic credentials that many businesses require when sending personal information or confidential data.
There are a number of threats which endanger your email communications, including:
Malware – According to eWeek, between 2% – 4% of emails contain a virus. That equates to more than 6 million infected emails being sent and received every day. Engaging with this dangerous correspondence could trigger a ransomware attack and leave businesses frozen out of their own system until hackers are paid thousands of pounds to be unlocked.
Easy Interception – It is extremely easy to intercept email communications. Furthermore, if messages and their attachments are not encrypted, much of the information can be read without difficulty.
That’s because many email providers do offer encryption options, however these are not used as standard and work on an opt-in basis so many users do not realise they are leaving their communications exposed for anyone with the capability to see.
Spear Phishing – 95% of data breaches start with a spear phishing attack, according to the SANS Institute.
Spear phishing is so effective because it appears so real. Fake emails masquerade as messages from legitimate contacts as a way for hackers to sneak their way into your systems. A simple click within one of these emails can cause all kinds of issues, with the goal of many hackers being to steal your personal or financial information.
They often trick anti-spam or anti-virus protection systems as a result, and their ‘authenticity’ is only amplified by the fact these emails are only sent in small volumes.
Human Error – Security breaches caused by human error can broadly be categorised under two headings:
- Disgruntled employees/ex-employees
- Careless or uneducated staff
No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but a lack of online security awareness and training could become a company’s biggest pitfall. According to recent reports:
[easy-tweet tweet=”93% of data protection breaches are caused by human error.” hashtags=”Data, Security “]
- 58% of senior managers have accidentally sent the wrong person sensitive information. On average 25% of workers overall have done this.
- 87% of senior managers regularly upload work files to a personal email or cloud account.
- 93% of data protection breaches are caused by human error.
- Two-thirds of employees believe that their organisations can improve their cyber security.
Lacking Compliance – Depending on the industry, organisations may have specific protocols and regulations they must abide by to maintain the safety of sensitive data such as financial information or medical details. Your basic email provider can’t provide this and therefore is not able to meet these imposed specifications.
Missing Authentication – Authentication tools act as a second layer of defence and will restrict access to authorised data to only the intended reader. Standard email services do not offer two-factor authentication options, therefore, if you leave your inbox open on your unguarded computer or your email is intercepted, anyone can read its contents.
A Solution to Your Email Security Issues
To learn more about email’s safety flaws and what you can do to secure your systems, download your free copy of ‘The Solution to the Email Security Problem’ – a comprehensive guide by Maytech.