Cyberattackers use emails every day to infiltrate corporate networks and exploit personal data. As 2022 approaches, experts predict new ways for hackers to attack businesses.
Cybersecurity experts are predicting four upcoming trends in email security for 2022 –
- Increasing email scams since the pandemic will continue through 2022 as remote work prevails.
- Phishing using remote images, screenshots, and email manipulation will increase.
- While AI in cybersecurity is a blessing, attackers will also use AI to infiltrate cybersecurity.
- Remote work will also lead to an increasing man-in-the-middle attack trend.
So, how can you protect your data and keep your email secure in 2022? Let’s explore the top seven email security tips for 2022.
1. Train Employees on Email Security
Spammer and scammers target employees within an organization to gain access to its IT network. Regularly scheduled training on cybersecurity and email security helps the employees identify and block these attacks. Each employee should receive in-depth training on email security and learn the best email security practices during their onboarding process. Additional updates or retraining throughout the career can raise awareness and mitigate risks.
2. Use Strong and Unique Passwords
In Brute Force or dictionary attacks, attackers target repeated and weak passwords to access a single account to take down the entire network. Every employee needs to use secure and strong passwords to keep the network safe. Additionally, train the employees to remember long and complex passwords without writing them down somewhere.
You also need to update passwords to online accounts regularly. Even though forcing periodic password changes used to work in the past, NIST recommends against it as it can frustrate the users to use less secure passwords. Instead, update the password if you find any suspicious activities or if you have been using the same password for too long.
3. Limit Email Address Visibility
Your email address is a sensitive piece of information that can threaten your online security if it reaches the wrong hand. Cyberattackers scour through the internet to collect already exposed email addresses to send malicious links and organize phishing attacks. Limiting your email address visibility is crucial to protect yourself from potential cyberattacks.
Go to Sniff Email to check your email address visibility on the web. Sniff Email is an online platform dedicated to finding out if your email address exists on the internet. Enter your email address in the search field and click fetch to find out if your email address exists on the web within a few seconds. Based on the results, you can take appropriate action to remove it.
4. Use Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication or MFA uses more than one method to confirm the user identity. Typically, after a user enters the login credentials on a website, an authentication code is sent to a mobile phone or to the personal email account to double-check the identity. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Report, the use of two-factor authentication could eliminate 80% of data breaches. Using MFA on top of a strong password is best to secure your email account.
5. Avoid Clicking on Email Links
Email links can be manipulated to make the URL look genuine or legitimate to run phishing attacks. This process is also known as link manipulation or URL hiding. The anchor text and the link attached can be very different and deceptive to the reader. For example, the link “paypal.com” might look like it will take you to PayPal when originally the HTML code in the background sends it to some malicious website.
Link manipulation can also be used in images and icons. Avoid clicking on anything within the email body without confirming the sender. Pay attention to the header of the email. Contact the sender to verify the legitimacy of the email if it looks suspicious.
6. Don’t Open and Interact with Spam Emails
Whatever you do, never interact with a spam email. It might be enticing to tell the spammer to f**k off or reply to it just to mess with the spammer. But the consequence of responding to a spam email can be devastating.
Firstly, it confirms that your email address is active and still in use. Secondly, it will motivate the spammer to send you more spam emails now that they know you are receiving them. You also risk communicating personal information such as IP address, approximate geographic location, your OS, and more with the spammer when you reply to spam.
7. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
As mentioned before, man-in-the-middle attacks are predicted to rise in 2022. Public Wi-Fi provides an easy route for cybercriminals to organize man-in-the-middle attacks and steal your personal data. Anyone infiltrating the network can monitor your activity when accessing your email using public Wi-Fi. Attackers can also steal sensitive information such as –
- Login credentials
- Financial information
- Personal data
If you are in a situation where you have to use public Wi-Fi, make sure your connection is encrypted and use a VPN. Disconnect your device as soon as possible and delete the network from your device.
Email security threats continue to change and advance — and you need to be more careful than ever to tackle them. Implementing these email security practices and being smart on the internet will keep your email account secure from any potential attacks.
Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash