With over 90% of attacks on organizations starting from a malicious email, relying on your built-in security might leave your organization open to cyber criminals that constantly capitalize on the number one attack vector: exploiting human nature and the lack of tight security.
Emails are an effective initial infection vector because almost every company uses email, and the average employee, as we can all imagine, gets many emails. The sheer volume of emails means that an employee has only a short amount of time to devote to each one and pulls them into a false sense of security. Cybercriminals take advantage of this in phishing attacks, which have become even more common and effective with the growth of cloud-based email.
A phishing email is designed to use social engineering to exploit your organization’s employees. If an attacker can get a user to click on a malicious link or open an infected attachment, they can steal login credentials and other personal data or install malware on the employee’s computer. From there, the cybercriminal can expand their access on the corporate network to steal sensitive data or perform other attacks.
Over 90% of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email, and the reason for this is that phishing emails are effective. It is often much easier to convince an employee that they need to take action on their Netflix account or send a payment to a vendor than to identify and exploit a vulnerability in a company’s systems.
The rapid adoption of cloud computing has only made it easier for cybercriminals to exploit email. The growing use of cloud-based email and document sharing solutions – such as Google Drive and Microsoft 365 – have opened up new attack vectors for cybercriminals.
An attacker will commonly send a phishing email masquerading as a legitimate shared document. Upon clicking on the link, the target will be prompted to enter their credentials for the service to view it, which sends these credentials to the attacker. If the organization has not configured their cloud infrastructure to provide visibility into account usage and implement access control, an attacker can use these stolen credentials to access sensitive data throughout the company’s cloud.
Phishing emails and other malicious messages are designed to provide an attacker with initial access to an organization’s network. This can occur in a variety of ways and achieve a number of different purposes:
These are only some of the potential impacts of a successful phishing attack on an organization’s cybersecurity. In any of these cases, only a single employee has to fall for the attack in order for it to be successful. However, phishers will often target multiple employees within the company to maximize their probability of a successful attack.
Many organizations rely upon the built-in Microsoft 365 security settings or other configuration options provided by their cloud email provider. However, these settings are not enough to protect against a number of email-based threats:
Email is a common attack vector for cybercriminals, and traditional email security solutions are not enough to protect against this threat. Companies require an email security solution with several core capabilities: