The pandemic has prompted a novel shift in work culture, where employees from all parts of the globe transitioned from office working to remote working. What does this mean for companies and major brands? It means that these employees are using their personal devices for work.
This BYOD culture, however, introduces its own set of challenges, making it of the utmost importance that companies protect their employees and data using security tools on a scale never seen before.
In 2021 alone, more than 240 million COVID-related spam messages are detected by Gmail each day. Google has shared a list of examples of phishing email tactics used by scammers. The list is as follows:
* Scammers pretended to be from the WHO to solicit donations.
* Fraudsters claimed to be from the HR department to exploit company employees.
* Small businesses were targeted and offered fake government stimulus packages.
* Attackers impersonated customers and partners to install ransomware in the employees’ computer systems.
This demonstrates the urgent need to use email security tools to block attackers and fend off cyberattacks. Here are a few steps that companies can take to protect their confidential data, money, and employees:
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a tool that helps remote employees work on an encrypted connection over the internet. With a VPN, sensitive data can be securely transmitted across servers. It extends top-notch security to public networks. Reports have shown that after the pandemic, the demand for VPNs has gone up drastically.
S/MIME Email Encryption
Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions makes sure that the message is read by the intended receiver and no third party. It is end-to-end encrypted, and interception is not allowed. The IETF has called for the universal adoption of S/MIME.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is an email authentication standard that combines SPF and DKIM records to determine the authentication status of an email. While providing visibility of an email’s original source, it ensures better deliverability and guarantees security against malicious cyberattacks like spoofing, phishing, ransomware, and more. To read more about the working of DMARC, head to What is DMARC?
DMARC protects employees from getting phished via fake emails. Adopting DMARC universally will save companies money and data lost due to security breaches. This report says DMARC has helped save a whopping $19 million annually.
DKIM and SPF implementation
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an anti-tamper protocol that ensures that your mail remains secure in transit. DKIM uses digital signatures to confirm whether the email was sent by an authentic domain.
SPF or Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication protocol that allows the owner of a domain to specify which email servers are permitted to send emails from their domain. As the email is being delivered, SPF allows the recipient email server to verify whether the email claiming to be from a specific sender is actually from an IP address that is authorized to send emails on the domain's behalf.
DKIM and SPF work in alignment with DMARC to authenticate emails, ensure deliverability, and guarantee the security of your email systems.
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is a relatively new standard that allows an organization’s or business’s brand logo to appear alongside their email communications in a customer’s or client’s inbox. Not only does this improve brand visibility but also increases email deliverability by preventing fake emails. BIMI also facilitates trust in your brand and enhances customer engagement.
EMPLOYEE AWARENESS PROGRAM
Scammers have humanized the phishing attempt. They play on the victim’s fear and emotions to trap them. Cyberattacks can be avoided with proper workforce training within the organization. A lot of international authorities have made security awareness training a prerequisite if the organization wants to be certified. PCI DSS and ISO 27000 series are a few standards that mention the above. A training program ensures that every employee knows what they’re dealing with while working online. By equipping the workforce with proper cyber security knowledge, we ensure that they fend off phishing and spoofing attempts much better than earlier.
Remote working has increased tenfold in the last two years. The world has seen a massive shift to online working given the threat of the pandemic. This has led to major changes and overhauls in the industry. More than 56 percent of companies allow their employees to work remotely. During the pandemic, this number increased to 88 percent with some companies keeping it optional.
While this is a step forward, it has also led to new and evolved cyberattacks on remote employees. In 2020, hackers conducted thread hijacking attacks on remote workers to steal data using the Emotet and Qbot trojans, which impacted 24% of organizations globally.
It is very clear that all the security measures mentioned above need to be in place so that companies, organizations, and businesses are better equipped to protect sensitive data, minimize cyberattacks, and prevent financial losses.