Did you know emails are responsible for 91% of cybercrime that takes place online?
And it only requires one email to take an entire organization down.
The recent study by FireEye has concluded that the most popular vector for cyber-attacks is email.
A malicious email is commonplace. It might appear legit, but in reality, it aims to destroy the entire infrastructure once that email’s malicious bits make their way into your organization’s systems.
How Does A Malicious Email Disguise Itself?
Following are the methods by which a malicious email can disguise itself and get you to click or open that link.
As the name implies impersonation attacks are emails that appear to be from trusted companies or entities. Naturally, any person would fall for it. Once that’s done, unbeknownst to you, corporate data and finances are put to risk.
- Spear Phishing
Spear phishing is yet another kind of email disguise that targets any organization and individual for tapping into sensitive information and exploits them for financial gain. Spear phishing is not practiced by your everyday hackers rather it is being orchestrated by pros that are out to run you dry of your money.
AKA whaling attack or whaling phishing, where the attack focuses on high-profile individuals such as the CEO or CFO of a company. The definition could be mapped to employees who are in high ranking positions in an organization. The end goal is to trick them into authorizing high-value wire transfers.
Two Kinds of Malicious Emails
Before we delve in any further and highlight the dangers, even more – it is imperative that you know about the two kinds of malicious emails. There are emails that are malware in itself and then there are emails which are non-malware in nature.
Those emails which are non-malware include the above, however, malware ones include viruses, Ransomware, adware, Trojan horses and the likes thereof. Ransomware is known to be the most intricate form of malware.
Ransomware is a software that’s like a leech which will suck the life out of your organization. The program threatens to make public victim’s information on the internet. Moreover, it prevents any access to that information unless the ransom demanded is paid in full.
Eye Opener Statistics
*Phishing attacks (emails and URLs) have witnessed a surge in 2017 by up to 65%, and 30% during the holiday season.
*Corporate losses have resulted in the loss close to $12.5 billion due to CEO fraud attacks.
*According to the study, 46% of Ransomware attacks occur as part of an email. Ransomware alone is responsible for the losses of $5 billion caused to companies and organizations.
How Can Ivacy Eliminate These Threats
With Ivacy VPN in place, your connection is encrypted and its secure download feature automatically detects any abnormalities in the email or traffic. Therefore, any such email is quickly identified and is stopped dead in its tracks before it is clicked or opened by anyone.
The contents of the email are scanned and anything that reeks of a fishy URL or of a similar nature is blocked due to Ivacy’s ability to inspect phishing URLs. What you get in the end, is a filtered and cleansed email (which of course, if relevant).
Adaptive Attacks by Hackers
The hackers today are equipped to adapt as the situation demands them to be. Their reliance is more on non-malware attacks instead of a full-fledged malware attack.
Defenses and practices have improved over time to combat malware, hence why it is easier to create spoof email addresses and usernames to trick the concerned into letting them give up their information out of free will.
Other non-malware attacks comprise of CEO fraud, as previously stated, and is gaining momentum. Since users are now more accustomed to accessing emails on their phones, cybercriminals have found a way to cause even more harm.
Email clients or apps are not required to display the sender’s email address rather make do with just the name. And that’s why primarily, it has become easier for hackers to get users thinking that they are communicating with an authentic person or someone from their acquaintance via emails.
The ideal way to minimize these threats and guard yourself against malicious emails is to employ a decent VPN such as Ivacy. With Ivacy, you can mask your IP address and remain anonymous while browsing the web. The hackers won’t know if you are even there.
*The statistics above are based on a report by FireEye, “All It Takes Is One”.