Email Security: A Priority for Small and Medium Enterprises

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Email Security: A priority for Small and Medium Enterprises. Email security is a critical priority for businesses of all sizes Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > Email Security: A Priority for Small and Medium Enterprises By Cian Fitzpatrick | 3rd June 2024 As a small-to-medium business, you might think you don’t need to be concerned with all this cybercrime stuff. Cybercriminals don’t care for small businesses. The takings are too small. This couldn’t be further from the truth. But oddly, it is a widely held misconception.  There’s a certain logic here that cybercriminals would be well aware of: big businesses have big budgets, right? They can spend a fortune on protecting their digital assets. Conversely, smaller businesses have smaller budgets, and probably less digital assets to protect (we’re talking data, the new gold). The return might be smaller, but the fruit is hanging lower.  While you might think that you’re a small fry and don’t really need security for your business, make no mistake, that someone out there thinks you’re fry enough.  And cybercrime is a growing economy, it’s become an easy trade, with ready-made software solutions available on the Dark Web.  The facts are not optimistic. Cybercrime is the number one threat when it comes to financial crime in Ireland, says the Compliance Institute, which surveyed 230 compliance professionals working in Irish financial services. Hacking, phishing, online scams and other forms of cybercrime have overtaken tax evasion and insider trading. And anybody who accesses the internet, is a target and possible victim. So while smaller businesses are squeezed for resources, they simply cannot afford to neglect this issue. According to a 2022 report by Grant Thornton, cybercrime was going to cost Ireland more than €10bn that year. That’s a lot of money leaking out of the economy.  The same report showed that one in three SMEs fell victim to cybercrime between May ’21 and April ’22, with an average pay-out to fraudsters at €22 773 per incident. But 2023 figures say that nearly three in four businesses (not necessarily SMEs though) had been attacked in the 12 months prior. That same report says that Ireland had the highest median average number of attacks, Ireland is the country most likely to pay a ransom and that the number was four times higher than the previous year.  There is a silver lining however: The single biggest attack in Ireland in 2023, cost €118,128, down from €5.2m in 2022. Silicon Republic has also said that according to Hiscox Business Insurance, Ireland has the highest rate of cyber-insurance ownership of all the countries surveyed, which included the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the US. The direct financial implications are obvious, but less obvious is the reputational and trust damage that results from these issues. As well as private data that is now “in the wild”.  Protect Your SME with topsec cloud solutions Get A Quote Types of cybercrime that target SMEs: Ransomware, as the name suggests, kidnaps data until money is paid over, simplistically. This is malware that blocks access to a victim’s data by encrypting it, and a decryption key can be “bought”.  Business Email Compromise, BEC, attacks specific employees that have access to company funds or sensitive data. This is often combined with impersonation, where a fraudster will pretend to be a senior staff member or client. They’ll request money or access to systems.  Password attacks unsurprisingly, involve cybercriminals using a range of methods to learn credentials. One study in 2022 found  that more than 80% of successful hacks are as a result of accessing user login details. Social engineering, phishing, brute force, are all methods of gaining the information that’ll get a criminal in, either providing access to sensitive systems and data, or even to money.  SMEs are just as much at risk of social engineering attacks. A recent report from 2022 says that organisations with over 2000 employees are only slightly more of a target than their counterparts with less than 100 employees. The number of attacks on a larger enterprise is far more, but as a percentage, it remains more-or-less the same.  The bigger issue is that the cost of a breach is generally far more devastating for a small company, than it is for a larger organisation. Cybersecurity Ventures says that 60% of small businesses will close their doors six months after a security breach. This is a huge threat to small businesses, with 43% of online attacks focused on SMEs currently. Of concern should be that SMEs are seemingly unprepared for an attack. A 2023 report found that almost 25% of SMEs had either been attacked or hadn’t realised they’d been attacked in the 12 months prior. 61% of SMEs didn’t have dedicated cybersecurity experts, 47% didn’t have an incident response plan and 27% didn’t have cyber-insurance coverage. What can you do? Every company is experiencing budget cuts right now. It’s tight, but a large part of being a secure company is phishing awareness. Employee training and instilling security consciousness into each and every staff member is key. Regular training on identifying a potential “phishy” email, or social engineering and impersonation attempts are crucial.  Multifactor authentication is an account login process that demands more than one method of logging in. It may involve a password as well as a security token, or biometric verification.  Software systems that prevent dodgy emails from even entering an organisation’s domain are a favourite preventative measure. If measures can be taken to halt the threat before it even reaches inboxes, that’s ideal.  An incident response plan should also be in place. A cyber attack has become a likely event in today’s world, and planning for the eventuality may help limit the damage. It also generates a preventative-approach-mentality. Forewarned is forearmed.  More and more, legislation is forcing companies – big and small – to take responsibility for their own environment and accountability for a breach. Organisations are only really holders of data, not owners. The onus is on these companies to

DMARC is now compulsory, thanks to Yahoo and Google.

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DMARC is now compulsory, thanks to Google and Yahoo. Email Security requires DMARC Protection. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC DMARC is now compulsory, thanks to Google and Yahoo. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 17th May 2024 Not the cool kid in town, and as old as the internet itself, email remains the most productive business tool. By the same token, it’s the most effective tool for cybercriminals. With this in mind, regulators have been focusing on email security in an attempt to curtail cybercrime.  As methods became more sophisticated than simply poorly worded emails promising royal riches from secret vaults in places unknown, so too have security protocols and technology to halt the incoming onslaught. Proactive security solutions are the only way to protect organisations in this age where data is gold. DMARC is now a compliance issue Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, also known as DMARC, is a solution developed to be highly effective in email security.  So much so that Google and Yahoo have implemented stringent DMARC regulations taking effect in February of this year for senders of 5000 or more messages per day.  Email domains must have a DMARC policy in the DNS (Domain Name System) and messages must pass DMARC alignment, or they won’t be delivered to Yahoo and Gmail inboxes. This applies to messages sent on an organisation’s behalf through email service providers such as MailChimp.  The DNS is the equivalent of the internet’s phonebook – remember those? We access websites through a name, but web browsers talk to each other through IP addresses, so the DNS essentially converts domain names to IP addresses. What’s DMARC? DMARC integrates SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) to verify an email’s authenticity.  One of the biggest issues in recent security breaches has been that attackers can impersonate a domain, making an email look like it comes from someone, when it really comes from someone else (a fraudster).  DMARC is a robust solution that makes sure to check that the email originates where it says it originates, and can then block phishing and impersonation attempts.  DMARC relies on two key elements:  SPF confirms the origin of an incoming email. And DKIM, which uses encryption to authenticate an email and prevent identity forgery.    DMARC records instruct recipient servers on handling emails that fail authentication checks, either by quarantine or outright rejection. This may be flagged due to a difference between a supposed email sender and the actual email address. It’s a crucial layer of defence. In the old days, platforms like Google relied on filters to sieve out spammers and fraudsters. The filters were often so severe that legitimate emails would be blocked. Cyber security is always a fine line between keeping a system safe and minimising user discomfort. Get DMARC Compliant with Topsec today Get A Quote More than just compliance, it’s about trust. Google and Yahoo’s move to compel businesses to adopt DMARC is encouraging. On one hand, organisations are teaching their employees to have a healthy distrust of email. However, as a brand and organisation, you want those with whom you engage to trust your digital communications. By implementing solid security measures like those offered by Topsec Cloud Solutions, it’s an opportunity to strategically raise your brand profile as one that can be trusted.  The DMARC initiative by Google and Yahoo isn’t purely about technology.  The three pillars behind this strategy from a user’s perspective are that email will be authenticated in the background (as discussed above), it will be easy to unsubscribe from mailing lists, and emails cannot be spammy – they have to be wanted by recipients.  This is a positive move for users and organisations, although it does mean that businesses may have to review their technology strategy if they send more than 5000 emails a day. The idea is to encourage and enhance trust in email communications and to proactively protect against fraud.  For organisations that have yet to implement DMARC, it’s an opportunity to ensure the protocol is correctly executed, but it’s also as a confidence-building practice within and across organisations.  There’s an element of brand reputation and integrity in all of this. Who doesn’t want to do business with an ethical organisation that looks after its assets and its clients’ assets? For marketing teams, it’s a chance to demonstrate outstanding values and a security-aware ethos.  This is not just a technology issue. Once again, it’s highlighted that cybersecurity belongs to each stakeholder in the business.  There’s also the compliance angle. Failure to comply will lead to delays in email delivery and possible rejection. The effect on brand reputation and trust in integrity will be significant.  And that’s the best-case scenario.  The possibility of a cyber attack becomes very real for organisations that don’t comply, or which implement DMARC incorrectly. These attacks have devastating financial and reputational consequences. It’s the responsibility of each organisation to secure their digital channels. Recovering from a phishing or spoofing attack is expensive, time-consuming, and incredibly stressful for stakeholders. Data and privacy breaches become a nightmare for everyone and the damage can be permanent, or at best, lengthy to repair. DMARC in practice. Both Google and Yahoo offer transparent error codes for each email rejection. The error codes are freely available and offer an explanation along with the numerical code, making it easy to understand why an email was blocked, and what action should be taken. Failures are generally either temporary or permanent.  With 90% of all cyber attacks initiated through phishing, which is generally done via email, it’s understandable that the largest tech organisations are taking control. By forcing companies to protect themselves and their users, they’re helping to make the internet a safer place and combat cybercrime. This is and always will be a process, but organisations need to work together. And this is more than a security issue, it’s a chance to prove to clients that your organisation is taking security seriously.  Our DMARC Protection

How to Build a Resilient Email Security Architecture

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How to Build a Resilient Email Architecture. Strategies for Enhanced Cybersecurity Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > How to Build a Resilient Email Architecture. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 1st May 2024 Email (and email security) is the cornerstone of modern business. Efficient, convenient, productive, it’s the most prolific business tool on which we’ve come to rely. Hence, email remains the primary medium by which cyber threats enter an organisation (91% of threats come through this gateway). Tactics to slide through security systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and reliance on human fallibility is key to successful breaches. Effective cybercriminals use a multipronged approach in their endeavours: technology… and social engineering. If we wish to counteract their techniques, we need to proactively defend our assets. And also use a multidimensional strategy. Technology alone is not enough. But it helps. Employee education alone is not enough. But it helps.  What are the biggest threats to email security? Bad actors are getting smarter. We’re seeing more malicious QR codes within emails and email attachments. They often appear harmless at first, but post-delivery, they’re able to change destination or characteristic. Likewise with URLs, threats can be triggered and clicks redirected, hours or even days after arrival in an inbox. This can make it difficult for gateway security systems to nab threats as they enter a domain.  There’s also been a rise in OneDrive as a delivery method of malicious threats, with files that look initially like they contain nothing untoward. Again, threats are triggered some time later.  Whaling and spear phishing attacks are on the increase, where senior staff is tracked and targeted. Information is accumulated from across the web, using social media, and professional platforms to find out who’s-who and where they are. Impersonation techniques involve the clever use of AI and other easily available technology. Remember that this is an industry the size of a country’s economy (third after the US and China, in fact). Compromises in the supply chain are also growing. The use of contractors can be risky. But who doesn’t use contractors and partners? If a supplier’s security is not up to scratch, the knock-on can be huge, and cybercriminals are exploiting smaller suppliers to funnel into larger organisations. Partners are often trusted and the relationship is solid, and so systems don’t flag them up.  Human behaviour will always be a stumbling block for organisations. And not just users who are prone to social engineering – which is all of us – there’s also the risk that protocols like DKIM/DMARC are not set up correctly. Compliance regulations and cyber insurance policies may demand these protocols, but correct set-up takes effort and understanding. IT departments are under huge pressure, it’s not surprising then that these protocols become a mere box-ticking exercise. IT staff are often at the point of burn-out and their familiarity with risks, or incessant flags on the systems they monitor, can hinder them from seeing the wood for the trees.  What can we do? Central to protecting a cyber environment is a proactive approach. Constant staff-awareness training should be one arm of defence, and technology, the other.  A proactive approach means tackling emails before they reach inboxes, before they’re in transit on an organisation’s infrastructure. Once a threat is in an inbox, it could be too late. The onus is then on the user to determine that the email is fraudulent, and this could be the weak link. The sophistication of these scams lies in their appearing sound of character, links and attachments are unthreatening. But they’re manipulable once they’ve reached their destination, and that when they attack. Scammers are taking less of a birdshot approach now. They’re targeting specific people or roles in an organisation, and starting a process of engagement which begins innocently enough. Like this, their emails seem legitimate and go unflagged. Once they have you on a trusting journey, they’re able to lead you to malicious content.  DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is an email authentication protocol. Its aim is to protect an email domain from unauthorised use, particularly email spoofing, or the creation of forged email addresses. Set up DMARC Protection correctly in order to protect businesses from email-based compromises, phishing scams, and other cyber threat activities. Ensure your email security solution scans malicious qr codes Get A Quote The path of an email in an ideal environment On entry to an organisation, an email encounters an antivirus scanner, where it will be reviewed for legitimacy. DMARC and DKIM protocols will be correctly configured and vulnerabilities are constantly monitored on the Dark Web. The AV scanner will look at whether an email’s credentials have been previously encountered, if there’s an existing fingerprint for it, whether or not it has an attachment, link, or QR code. There are three options at this point. The email may be found to be legitimate and risk-free, it may be deemed malicious and blocked, or it may go into a sandbox for further investigation. There are several sandbox environments, one for attachments, one for URLs, one for QR codes. What’s a sandbox? An email sandbox is an isolated environment identical to the user environment. It’s like a laboratory, where an attachment can be exploded or code can be executed in the vacuum of the sandbox without affecting or bringing down the entire network. Sandboxes are particularly effective against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), which are custom-developed, targeted attacks. Their aim is to steal data and they’re designed to elude traditional detection methods. Human intervention and observation allows for further research into an attempted attack and action taken. The knowledge and experience of people cannot be underestimated in cybersecurity.  Architecture aside… You can have all the best systems in place, solid procedures, cutting edge technology, and the most vigilant IT team, but ultimately, the target for cybercriminals is you and me. Every person in an organisation is a possible access point for a scammer. And so it is up to each person to be the

Meet the team: Topsec MD, Niall Mackey

Meet the team- Niall Mackey

Meet The Team: Niall Mackey Sales Managing Director Send an Email Niall Mackey Commercial Director Our MD is a sports fanatic, plays pickleball at league level and enjoys celebrating the wins in life. We recently sat down with a cup of tea to discover more of what makes Niall tick. What ensued was a great conversation. We trust you will enjoy it too! Q. 1 Can you share key experiences that led to your role at Topsec Cloud Solutions and how they shape your approach? Niall: A story I tell quite frequently is how I landed up in IT because I was avoiding the religious studies class at school. From an optional study point of view there were just two choices – IT or religious studies. I suppose this is the part where we say “and the rest is history”.  But all jokes aside, this key experience does speak of one of the foundational aspects to the approach that led me to my role at Topsec Cloud Solutions which is that I followed my curiosity. Then another stroke of luck came my way in my early career in that “I discovered that while I loved the tech I could also communicate well with people.” This led to my tenure being the IT Manager at Bank of America where my team and I developed the first paperless office!  In time, I also held roles at Interoute, Nokie Networks and Horse Racing Ireland. In January 2008, I joined Topsec. All these years later, I still find the work we do fascinating to protect our clients’ businesses from cyber threats. I greatly enjoy the people I work with, both our team and our clients, and I make it my personal mission to fight the baddies every day. Q. 2 Can you outline major shifts in email security and their impact on Topsec’s strategies and the industry? Niall: Firstly, the optics for cyber hackers are changing. For too long, the prevailing image was one of a lone wolf teenage hacker in a hoodie drinking a redbull hacking through firewalls. Now, people are waking up to the fact that cybercriminals run massive businesses themselves. You can now purchase “ransomware as a service” just as you can do for software.  Then, when I joined Topsec, most organisations had on-prem solutions. Easily 90% of businesses had their entire business based on their premises. Topsec was always flying the flag for cloud-based solutions, before this term even entered the mainstream. Now, I’d say 98% of our clients have cloud-based email security data solutions. The next big shift I witnessed was the emergence of ransomware. Again, it’s now a commonplace term but it was not even a factor when I first moved into email security. Topsec was ahead of the curve on this one because we had identified that links could be weaponised and developed a URL protector.   Our URL protector goes up to 10 links down to check for any poisoned links in the “long tail” behind the link a client may be asked to click on.  Quite frankly, our URL protector is the best in the business. Q. 3 How do you ensure a human-centric sales approach amidst technical complexities, and can you share examples? Niall: Although the image of cybersecurity is heavily focused on the tech side of things, it’s not difficult to remember that humans are at the absolute centre of what we do.  Cyber attacks have really serious implications and those are borne by the people in the organisation. Especially by those in leadership positions. One of Topsec’s chief differentiators is that we actually have highly trained experts monitoring all of clients’ businesses. Yes, we make extensive use of AI capabilities, and we see technology as an integral part of the “cybersecurity solution stack” for all businesses, but you cannot replace human expertise.  We tell our clients our team will know you have a problem before you do – and we’ll already be on it sorting it out. Time and time again, we’ve been told this is why we’ve won their business by clients. Our human touch is highly valued. Q. 4 Highlight a significant success story during your tenure at Topsec that exceeded expectations. Niall: We work with both small and large companies across many industries. To name just a few, we currently have clients in engineering, intellectual property, food, healthcare, agriculture and forestry among others. Our case studies provide real world examples of the work we do for these clients. And the impact this work has had in protecting our clients from cyber attacks. Q. 5 What emerging trends in email security excite you, and how is Topsec preparing for them? Niall: AI is the big new thing on the block, but all the hype takes away the true game-changer this type of technology truly offers. We’ve had AI, or perhaps, more accurately ML (machine learning) solutions and tools in the email security space for years. What we’re seeing now is those tools and solutions become even more refined as firms build Zero Trust Architecture to really build a moat of protection around their data. We’ve also seen Google and Yahoo get serious about prioritising email security with their rulings on DMARC records.  Our marketing on this has taken the angle that email is growing up. It’s an accurate description of how massive email providers are taking steps to thwart cyber attacks via inboxes. And it’s a message that’s cutting through. Q. 6 Share strategies for maintaining work-life balance in a high-pressure sales environment. Niall: This is where the pickleball comes in! I’ve loved sport since I was a child and that love has only strengthened over the years. I played and coached tennis for a number of years, but my latest passion has been pickleball. Topsec sponsors a league and I am part of a team. It’s huge fun! My wife constantly asks me why I’m running around like a deranged lunatic, but what can I say, it’s my preferred way to

Elevating Email Security Standards with Topsec Inbox Protect

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Topsec Inbox Protect:Protect Internal Email Elevate Your Email Security Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > Elevating Email Security Standards with Topsec Inbox Protect By Cian Fitzpatrick | 26th March 2024 In today’s interconnected digital world, email remains the backbone of communication for businesses.  It’s email that serves as the conduit for vital information exchange, collaboration and workflow management. However, alongside its undeniable usefulness comes an avalanche of cyber threats that continually test the efficacy of existing security measures.  For this reason, organisations need to adopt a zero tolerance approach. And get as tough as nails on anything that even remotely looks like a hack! Platforms like Microsoft Office 365 (O365) provide a layer of email protection, but by no means does this represent enough. The evolving nature of cyber threats necessitates a proactive approach to safeguarding email communications with a multi-layered approach.  Enter Topsec Inbox Protect – a comprehensive solution designed to fortify internal mail security and shield organisations from a myriad of potential threats. Inbox Protect and Microsoft 365 Inbox Protect works and is compatible with your Microsoft Tenant. Understanding the Essence of Topsec Inbox Protect At its core, Topsec Inbox Protect represents the toughest defence yet in the realm of email security.  By seamlessly integrating with Microsoft users’ mailboxes, it offers an additional layer of protection against malicious entities seeking to exploit vulnerabilities within internal mail systems.  Simple and effective, Inbox Protect streamlines the setup process, ensuring that organisations can bolster their email security posture without undue complexity or disruption to daily operations. Mitigating Common Threat Vectors Despite the best efforts of traditional email security measures, certain threats persistently find their way into users’ inboxes, posing significant risks to organisational security and integrity. This shouldn’t come as any great shock when we take into account that 91% of all cyber attacks come through email. Phishing attacks, in particular, continue to plague organisations worldwide, with cybercriminals employing sophisticated tactics to deceive unsuspecting users and extract sensitive information. Don’t forget, cyber criminals are as versed in human psychology as they are in technology. Through advanced scanning algorithms and real-time threat detection capabilities, Topsec Inbox Protect acts as a stalwart guardian, identifying and neutralising phishing attempts before they can inflict harm. But phishing isn’t your only problem. The spectre of malware and ransomware looms large, presenting a clear and present danger to organisations of all sizes. These insidious threats not only jeopardise sensitive data but also disrupt critical business operations, potentially resulting in significant financial losses and reputational damage.  With attachment virus scanning and real-time mail monitoring, Inbox Protect stands as a bulwark against such pernicious threats, fortifying organisations’ defences and mitigating the risk of data breaches and system compromise. Is M365 fully protecting you against all email borne attacks? Get A Quote Embracing a Second-Layered Security Approach Cyber threats are both omnipresent and ever-evolving, a holistic approach to email security is paramount. When organisations speak about building a moat, email security has to be included in the strategy if you want to ensure growth and sustainability. Topsec Inbox Protect complements existing security measures by providing a second-layered defence mechanism, thereby augmenting organisations’ resilience to emerging threats. By fortifying both internal and external mail systems, Inbox Protect establishes a comprehensive security perimeter, safeguarding against a broad spectrum of potential attack vectors. The ease of setup and deployment further underscores Inbox Protect’s appeal, enabling organisations to bolster their email security posture with minimal overhead and administrative burden.  Furthermore, the ability to retroactively scan historical mail within a 14-day timeframe ensures that organisations remain vigilant against threats from both past and present communications. This enhances overall security efficacy and incident response capabilities. Key Advantages of Topsec Inbox Protect Adding Inbox Protect to your “email security stack” will provide your organisation with a number of benefits: 1. Comprehensive Inbox and Subfolder Protection Ensures thorough scanning and detection of malicious content within primary inboxes and subfolders, thereby minimising the risk of undetected threats. 2.Real-time Internal Mail Scanning: Provides continuous monitoring of internal mail traffic, enabling swift detection and neutralisation of potential threats in real-time. 3. Attachment Virus Scanning:  Employs advanced scanning techniques to scrutinise email attachments for malware and ransomware payloads, mitigating the risk of infection and data loss. 4. Spam Content Scanning: Identifies and removes spam and unwanted email content, thereby reducing the likelihood of data exposure and compromising sensitive information. 5. Known Bad Mail Address and Domain Check: Verifies sender addresses and domains against known malicious entities, preventing unauthorised access and fortifying organisational defences. 6. URL Rewriting and Detailed URL Analysis: Proactively rewrites URLs and conducts comprehensive analysis of embedded links, mitigating the risk of users inadvertently accessing malicious websites and falling victim to phishing scams. 7. Sandboxing: Introduces attachment sandboxing to internal email, exploding attachments within a dedicated virtual environment for in-depth analysis. 8. URL Triggering: Tracks all URLs within the tenant and forces deletion of emails that become triggered post delivery. How Topsec Inbox Protect Works Cyber Threats Are Only Increasing It’s no fun to be the harbinger of bad news. But at the same time, pretending a threat doesn’t exist is the fastest way to fall prey to one. Cyber attacks are increasing.  Every organisation that wants to safeguard their data assets and maintain operational continuity needs to prioritise email security.  Why not test Inbox Protect with a 7 day free trial? Your inbox, reputation and customers will thank you for taking the extra step to protect your inbox. And the cyber criminals will be thwarted before they even start. That’s a win/win in our book! Protect your internal email with topsec inbox protect Contact Us

Enhancing Email Security with DMARC: A Must for Businesses in 2024

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Navigating the New DMARC Landscape Google & Yahoo’s 2024 Regulations & Error Codes Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security >DMARC Navigating the New DMARC Landscape: Google & Yahoo’s 2024 Regulations It can seem strange to link Valentine’s Day with DMARC rules, but the month of love has something to tell us about how we treat our email recipients. And the two largest email platform providers in the world are driving this point home. As of February 2024, Google and Yahoo have implemented stringent DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) regulations, significantly impacting how businesses handle email security.  For years, Topsec Cloud Solutions has been at the forefront of guiding companies through all of their email security needs. We’re here to do the same with the latest rules. Follow the advice in this blog to ensure your firm is fully compliant with the DMARC requirements. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 14th February 2024 Understanding DMARC and Its Importance in Email Security What is DMARC? DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance. This protocol, integrating SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), is crucial in verifying email authenticity. In turn, ensuring an email really is from who it says it is from reduces the risk of cyber threats such as phishing and spoofing. Now we can see the Valentine’s link! Verifying your email authenticity is how you treat your email recipients well! The Mechanics of DMARC: SPF and DKIM The DMARC protocol hinges on two foundational elements:  SPF, which confirms the origin of incoming emails. And DKIM, employing asymmetric encryption to authenticate emails and prevent identity forgery.   The Impact of Google and Yahoo’s DMARC Rules on Businesses Adapting to the New Standards The recent mandate from Google and Yahoo necessitates businesses sending over 5,000 emails daily to adopt DMARC technology. This move is aimed at reinforcing trust in digital communications and safeguarding against electronic fraud.  Therefore it’s safe to say that adopting DMARC rules in your own organisation is not only a compliance issue. It’s a strategic move towards strengthening your email integrity, fortifying your cyber threat defences and ultimately taking care of your brand’s reputation. In this era, where email communication forms the backbone of corporate communication, ensuring that emails are verified and trusted has never been more critical.  Your emails are the vital conduit between you and your customers. For this reason, businesses must understand that DMARC implementation is more than a technical requirement. It’s a commitment to upholding the highest standards in digital communication.  By aligning with these new standards, businesses can demonstrate their dedication to cybersecurity. This goes a long way to enhancing your reputation and building stronger relationships with clients who value security and reliability.  Moreover, with the proliferation of sophisticated phishing attacks and email scams, DMARC acts as a frontline defence, ensuring that the emails businesses send and receive are legitimate and safe. Start your free dmarc trial today Start Trial The Consequences of Non-Compliance Failing to align with these standards could lead to significant communication barriers, as emails may be rejected by these platforms.  This change underscores the importance of adopting DMARC not just for compliance but for enhancing digital security and maintaining corporate integrity.  If your organisation doesn’t comply with these rules, email rejection will be just one of the consequences you face. You’ll also need to account for diminished brand reputation. It’s not difficult to see how customers and partners would lose trust in an organisation’s ability to secure its communication channels.  In the worst-case scenario, businesses may find themselves vulnerable to cyber-attacks, including phishing and spoofing. The devastating consequences of these attacks, ranging from data breaches to financial losses, are frequently reported in the media.  Moreover, non-compliance could also translate into legal challenges, especially for businesses in industries regulated for data protection and privacy. Therefore, it is imperative for organisations to understand that adhering to these new email security standards is not an option but a necessity.  The proactive adoption of DMARC can serve as a badge of honour, showcasing a company’s commitment to security and modern best practices in digital communication. So there’s a marketing and business development win here too. Recognising Various Google & Yahoo Error codes Google and Yahoo will start rejecting a portion of email correspondence from users who don’t comply fully by the deadline in the coming months. You may receive particular error codes and messages if your emails are refused because they don’t follow these new guidelines. These codes are useful bits of information that can help you solve the problems; they are not just arbitrary strings of characters and numbers. Google Error Codes Google offers transparent explanations for each email rejection. These are a few of the error codes that you can see if you don’t follow Google’s guidelines for senders. 550, “5.7.26” Unauthenticated email from domain-name is not accepted due to domain’s DMARC policy. Please contact the administrator of domain-name domain. If this was a legitimate mail please visit Control unauthenticated mail from your domain to learn about the DMARC initiative. If the messages are valid and aren’t spam, contact the administrator of the receiving mail server to determine why your outgoing messages don’t pass authentication checks. 550, “5.7.26” This message does not have authentication information or fails to pass authentication checks (SPF or DKIM). To best protect our users from spam, the message has been blocked. 550, “5.7.26” This message fails to pass SPF checks for an SPF record with a hard fail policy (-all). To best protect our users from spam and phishing, the message has been blocked. 550, “5.7.1” The IP you’re using to send mail is not authorized to send email directly to our servers. This usually happens when the IP address used has been blacklisted. You can access the full list of Googles error codes here.  Yahoo Error Codes The error codes you’ll encounter due to non-compliance with Yahoo’s sender requirements are 5xx (553 and 554). Here’s what receiving these error codes indicates: Authentication failures Your email failed one or more authentication checks

Navigating Email Security Challenges: Trends of 2023 Show The Way Forward for 2024

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Email Security 2024:Overcoming Challenges faced in 2023 Here are the top Email Security trends that we think will shape 2024. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security &gt Navigating Email Security Challenges: Trends of 2023 Pave The Way Forward for 2024 As we progressed through 2023, the digital landscape witnessed a continuous evolution in email security threats.  In 2024, these challenges are not just growing in number, but also in sophistication, making it imperative for businesses to adopt robust security measures.  In this detailed exploration, we will uncover the trends that have defined email security in 2023 and share the comprehensive solutions that Topsec Cloud Solutions offers to counter these threats effectively in the next 12 months. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 18th January 2024 Topsec’s Key Email Security Trends Observed for 2023 Post-Delivery URL Threats The year marked a significant rise in URLs that initially appear safe but later transform into gateways to malicious websites.  This sophisticated tactic evades conventional security measures, as the harmful nature of the URLs activates only after they have bypassed initial security screenings. This trend underscores the need for more dynamic, real-time security solutions capable of responding to threats as they evolve. In response to this challenge, Topsec’s URL Scanner offers a robust solution by providing real-time scanning of URLs. It effectively identifies and neutralizes threats even after the URLs have been initially cleared, ensuring continuous protection against these evolving cyber threats. Malicious File Shares Increasingly, attackers are embedding malicious content in shared files. These files often appear benign and pass through security checks unnoticed. Once opened, they can unleash malware or lead to data breaches.  This trend highlights the need for more advanced file scanning technologies that can detect hidden threats within shared documents. OneDrive as a Delivery Method The trust placed in OneDrive, due to its integration with Windows, has been exploited by cybercriminals. They use it as a conduit for delivering malware, relying on the inherent trust users have in the platform. This method’s rise in popularity calls for more nuanced security measures that can differentiate between legitimate and malicious OneDrive links. In response to this growing threat, Topsec’s Office 365 Email Security Solutions offer robust protection mechanisms specifically designed to intercept and neutralize such threats before they reach users. By employing advanced scanning technologies, Topsec ensures that only safe, verified content is allowed through, enhancing the security of your digital communications within Office 365. Malicious QR Codes The use of QR codes in emails and attachments as a means to redirect users to harmful websites post-delivery has become more frequent. Known as quishing, these QR codes often change their destination URLs after passing initial security checks, making them a formidable threat to track and neutralise. Impersonation Scams The sophistication of impersonation scams has grown, with attackers expertly mimicking legitimate entities to deceive users. This trend has been exacerbated by the increased use of digital communication, making it harder to distinguish between genuine and fraudulent interactions. Lack of Proper Setup (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) A notable number of organisations still fall short in setting up proper email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM and DMARC.  This oversight leaves them vulnerable to spoofing and phishing attacks. Proper implementation of these protocols is essential for authenticating email sources and maintaining email integrity. Stay a step ahead of malicious actors Get Quote Phishing Awareness Deficit Despite heightened awareness, phishing remains a prevalent threat, with many users still falling victim to these scams. This trend highlights the ongoing need for comprehensive phishing awareness programs that educate users about the subtleties of these attacks and how to avoid them. Multiple Admin Access Issues The practice of multiple administrators having access to a single account has introduced significant security risks. This approach can lead to confusion, oversight, and increased vulnerability to coordinated attacks targeting admin credentials. Supply Chain Compromises Supply chain issues, exacerbated by global economic and geopolitical factors, have led to increased vulnerabilities in email security. These compromises affect organisations at multiple levels and require a more integrated approach to security that considers the entire supply chain. Challenges of Hybrid/Remote Work The shift towards hybrid and remote work models has introduced new challenges in email security. Remote work environments often lack the robust security infrastructure of office settings, making them more susceptible to email-based attacks. Burnout in Cybersecurity The increasing complexity and volume of threats have led to burnout among cybersecurity professionals. This human factor can significantly impact an organisation’s ability to effectively manage and respond to security threats. Direct Forwarding Risks The convenience of direct forwarding features in email systems has been exploited by attackers, leading to security breaches. Attackers manipulate these features to reroute sensitive information, often without the original sender’s knowledge. This trend calls for a more comprehensive monitoring of email flow within organisations to detect and prevent unauthorised forwarding. How Topsec Cloud Solutions Can Help? Inbox Protection Topsec’s advanced Inbox Protect provides a robust defence against the sophisticated threats outlined above. Our solution employs cutting-edge technology for dynamic scanning, real-time threat detection, and adaptive response mechanisms. This approach ensures that emerging threats are identified and neutralised promptly, safeguarding your email communications against the latest tactics used by cybercriminals. VIP Impersonation Stamp Our VIP Impersonation Stamp technology is a game-changer in combating impersonation scams. It employs advanced algorithms to analyse email content and sender information, flagging potential impersonation attempts. This tool is particularly effective in protecting high-profile individuals within organisations, who are often the targets of such attacks. Implementing DMARC/DKIM Implementing DMARC and DKIM protocols is no longer optional but a necessity in today’s digital landscape. Topsec assists organisations in setting up these protocols, ensuring that emails are authenticated at their source and maintaining the integrity of email communications. Our experts guide you through the implementation process, ensuring these protocols are configured correctly to provide maximum protection. Phishing Awareness Programs Awareness is the first line of defence against phishing attacks. Topsec’s comprehensive phishing awareness programs are designed to educate employees on the latest phishing tactics,

Securing Your Digital Lifeline: The Essential Guide to Email Security

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Securing Your Digital Lifeline: The Essential Guide to Email Security Know why email is still the number one attack vector and why email security matters  Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security &gt Securing Your Digital Lifeline: The Essential Guide to Email Security As we close 2023, it’s worth exploring the critical importance of email security in our comprehensive guide. Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated. Therefore, developing actionable strategies to safeguard your emails in 2024 against phishing, malware and other cyber threats is time well-spent.  In an era where digital communication is ubiquitous, the significance of email security cannot be overstated. As reported by HubSpot, an astonishing four billion individuals engage in daily email usage, making it a prime target for cybercriminals.  But the good news is there are plenty of practical ways to shield your precious data from potential data risk. Understanding and preempting these risks ensures your peace of mind, and the peace of mind of your customers, with the assurance that your email exchanges are well-protected. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 21st December 2023 Why Email Security Matters Confidentiality Emails are often repositories of sensitive data – personal details, financial information and/or even strategic business plans. The lack of robust security measures can lead to dire consequences if this data falls into the wrong hands. Prioritising email security is key to maintaining the confidentiality of your digital conversations and safeguarding critical data. Privacy Your inbox is a vault of private interactions, ranging from personal chats to confidential business dealings. Unauthorised intrusion into your email can severely compromise your privacy. Implementing stringent security measures is essential to protect your personal data from prying eyes. We share how below. Data Integrity Ensuring the integrity of your emails is vital. It guarantees that the information relayed remains authentic and unaltered during transmission. Strong email security protocols can thwart unauthorised changes, thus maintaining the reliability and authenticity of your digital correspondence. Protection Against Malware and Phishing Attacks Email is a common conduit for cyber-attacks, including malware and phishing schemes. Cybercriminals often deploy sophisticated methods to deceive and gain unauthorised access to sensitive data. Robust email security measures are crucial in detecting and intercepting suspicious emails, reducing the risk of such attacks. Compliance with Regulations Various industries enforce regulations to safeguard sensitive data. Compliance is essential to avoid legal repercussions and reputational harm. Strong email security practices help businesses meet these requirements, protecting their customers’ and partners’ sensitive information. Stay a step ahead of malicious actors Get Quote Best Practices for Email Security Strong Passwords Use complex, unique passwords for email accounts. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect yourself, yet many people still use passwords that can be easily deciphered. Avoid predictable information like birth dates. Password managers can aid in generating and securely storing robust passwords. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Enhance security by enabling 2FA. This requires a secondary verification method, such as a text message or app, in addition to your password. This is vital even if your password is compromised. Beware of Phishing Emails Be cautious with emails that request personal info or urge you to click on dubious links. Look out for signs of phishing like misspellings, odd URLs or undue urgency. Verify the email’s legitimacy through a separate channel if in doubt. Regular Updates Keep your email client, antivirus, and operating systems updated. This protects against known vulnerabilities. Install updates promptly for the latest security enhancements. Email Encryption Encrypt sensitive emails for an additional security layer, ensuring only the intended recipient can view the content. Utilise your email provider’s encryption options or third-party tools for heightened security. Regular Backups Back up your emails to protect against accidental deletion or security breaches. Cloud-based solutions or local backups can ensure message and attachment recovery. Caution on Public Wi-Fi Avoid accessing email on public Wi-Fi networks to prevent data interception. Use a VPN for a secure connection when necessary. Why Is Email the Number 1 Attack Vector? Emails are a prevalent initial infection vector due to their universal use and the volume of emails employees handle. This creates a false sense of security, which cybercriminals exploit through phishing attacks. With the growth of cloud-based email, these attacks have become more frequent and effective. The Phishing Threat Phishing emails exploit social engineering to target organisation employees. These emails can lead to credential theft, installation of malware, or broader network access for cybercriminals. Over 90% of cyberattacks start with a phishing email, underscoring their effectiveness. Exploiting Cloud Email The rise of cloud computing has opened new attack vectors via cloud-based email and document sharing services. Attackers often masquerade phishing emails as legitimate shared documents to steal credentials and access sensitive company data. The Potential Damage of Malicious Emails Phishing emails can result in credential theft, fraudulent payments, Trojan installations, or ransomware delivery. These attacks only require one employee to be successful, but often target multiple employees to increase their chances. Why Built-In Security Isn’t Enough Many organisations rely on default security settings from their email providers, which are insufficient against various threats like zero-day malware, social engineering and employee negligence. Comprehensive email security solutions must go beyond these basic measures to effectively counteract sophisticated cyber threats. Advanced Threat Protection Utilising advanced threat protection (ATP) tools is essential in identifying and neutralising sophisticated email threats. ATP solutions use machine learning and heuristics to detect anomalies and patterns indicative of malicious activity, providing a more dynamic defence against evolving cyber threats. User Education and Awareness One of the most effective defences against email-based threats is an informed and vigilant workforce. Regular training sessions on identifying phishing attempts, safe email practices, and the importance of security protocols can significantly reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks. Regular Security Audits Conducting periodic security audits of your email systems can reveal vulnerabilities and compliance issues. These audits should assess all aspects of email security, from infrastructure to user practices, ensuring that every component of your email ecosystem is secure. Implementing Email Authentication Protocols Adopting email