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

Strengthening Microsoft 365 Security with Topsec Inbox Protect

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Strengthening O365 with Topsec Inbox Protect We know having just one layer of O365 protection is not enough to secure your organisation. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security &gt Strengthening Microsoft 365 Security with Topsec Inbox Protect With over 250 million monthly users, Microsoft 365 is a cornerstone of enterprise productivity.  However, its popularity also makes it a prime target for cybercriminals. This article discusses the critical need for enhanced security in Microsoft 365 and introduces Topsec Inbox Protect as a formidable solution to these vulnerabilities. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 15th December 2023 Microsoft 365 Security Concerns The vast user base of Microsoft 365 encompasses a significant amount of sensitive data, which attracts malicious actors. Common security concerns include: Privilege Escalation Attackers gaining unauthorised system access. To mitigate this, implement role-based security controls, regular updates, multi-factor authentication, and privileged access monitoring. Bypassing Multi-factor Authentication Attackers may circumvent MFA, making it essential to use advanced MFA techniques, limit authentication attempts, and educate employees on phishing risks. Phishing Attacks Up to 20% of phishing emails evade detection by Microsoft 365’s defences, necessitating employee education, spam filters, and phishing simulations. Malicious Macro Disabling macros by default and using anti-malware software can prevent the execution of malicious code. Data Exfiltration To combat this, use DLP solutions, encryption, firewalls and educate employees on data security. Stay a step ahead of malicious actors Get Quote Topsec Inbox Protect: Fortifying Internal Emails Topsec Inbox Protect emerges as a vital layer of defence, specifically enhancing the security of internal emails in Microsoft 365 environments. How Topsec Inbox Protect Enhances Microsoft 365: Advanced Internal Mail Scanning  Upon receipt of new internal mail, Inbox Protect performs rigorous security checks, quarantining any suspicious content. Comprehensive Threat Protection It addresses phishing, malware, ransomware, business email compromise, spam and unauthorised access. Dual-Defense Strategy When combined with Microsoft 365, it creates a two-pronged defence system, significantly enhancing overall email security. Ease of Use With a simple setup process, Inbox Protect starts securing historical emails within 14 days of integration. Key Benefits Enhanced Email Security Provides additional protection against a wide range of digital threats. Reduced Risk Lowers the chances of data breaches and unauthorised access. Improved Compliance Aligns with regulatory requirements, enhancing the organisation’s compliance posture. Learn how you can protect your staff Contact Us Conclusion In today’s digital landscape, relying solely on Microsoft 365’s inherent security features is insufficient.  Topsec Inbox Protect offers an essential additional layer of security, particularly for internal email communication.  By integrating this solution, organisations can significantly bolster their defences against a variety of cyber threats, ensuring a more secure and resilient digital environment. Secure your Microsoft 365 environment with Topsec Inbox Protect.  Get a Quote for your Topsec Inbox Protect Free Trial and enhance your email security today!

Navigating the Quishing Threat: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

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Unmasking Quishing: Decoding QR Code Phishing Quishing attacks are on the rise in business emails, know what to spot and how Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > Phishing Unmasking Quishing: Decoding QR Code Phishing in the Modern Business World The integration of digital technologies into business operations has opened new avenues for convenience and efficiency.  Quick Response (QR) codes stand out as a remarkable innovation in this regard. These square boxes filled with unfathomable squiggles simplifies access to information like never before.  However, their rising popularity also brings to the forefront a new type of cyber threat: quishing, or QR code phishing. And the number one entry way for a quicking attack to bombard your organisation? Through your emails. (91% of all cyber attacks are through email.) By Cian Fitzpatrick | 6th December 2023 Deciphering Quishing: An In-Depth Look What Exactly is Quishing? Quishing is a cyberattack where QR codes are weaponised to execute phishing scams.  This technique combines the ubiquity of QR codes with deceptive tactics to trick users into revealing sensitive personal and financial information. The Operational Dynamics of Quishing Quishing scams typically involve the creation and dissemination of fraudulent QR codes.  These codes are strategically placed to replace or overlay genuine QR codes in public or business settings.  When unsuspecting individuals scan these codes, they are redirected to counterfeit websites.  These sites, designed to mimic legitimate ones, are traps for unwary users to enter their confidential data. Quishing in the Real World: Examining Case Studies Case Study: Quishing in Retail and Public Spaces One notable instance of quishing occurred in a retail environment where scammers replaced the QR codes on payment terminals with their counterfeit versions.  Customers, intending to make payments, were instead led to fake payment portals, resulting in the theft of their credit card details. Case Study: Quishing in Corporate Environments In another case, a corporate office witnessed a quishing attack through seemingly harmless QR codes placed in its cafeteria. These codes, purportedly for accessing the daily menu, redirected employees to a phishing site that asked for their corporate login credentials. The Technical Mechanism: How Hackers Exploit QR Codes Hackers use QR codes as a medium to direct victims to phishing sites, cleverly camouflaging their malicious intent. These codes are strategically placed in locations with high foot traffic or within organisations, making them appear as legitimate parts of the infrastructure. The Hidden Perils of Quishing The subtlety of quishing lies in its ability to blend in with the everyday use of QR codes, making detection challenging. The delay in recognizing a quishing attack exacerbates its impact, as the stolen data can be exploited long before the breach is identified. Stay a step ahead of malicious actors Get Quote Fortifying Defences: Business Strategies Against Quishing Comprehensive Strategies for Business Protection 1.Enhanced Employee Awareness Regular workshops and training sessions to educate employees about the nuances of quishing. 2.Advanced QR Code Security Employing QR codes with enhanced security features like encryption and tracking to prevent unauthorised alterations. 3.In-depth Cybersecurity Protocols  Implementing advanced cybersecurity solutions, including next-generation anti-malware and anti-phishing systems. 4.Proactive Monitoring and Response Establishing a robust monitoring mechanism to detect and respond to any signs of quishing promptly. 5.Selective and Mindful QR Code Utilisation Encouraging a culture of cautious QR code usage, where employees verify the source before scanning. Building a Quishing-Resilient Business Environment In the digital age, staying ahead of cyber threats like quishing is imperative for business security.  By understanding the mechanics of quishing, staying alert to its manifestations, employing robust cybersecurity measures, and fostering a culture of awareness and vigilance, businesses can effectively shield themselves from these sophisticated attacks.  The fight against quishing is not just about technological solutions. It’s equally about cultivating an informed and cautious digital environment. Contact Topsec today to fortify your organisation’s email security. Our client case studies illustrate the care and commitment we bring to our work. Our team will do this for your organisation too.  Learn how you can protect your staff Contact Us

What is Spear Phishing?

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What is Spear Phishing? It is considered to be the most potent form of attack, learn how you can prevent these attacks. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security >Phishing What is Spear Phishing? Among different cyberattacks, spear phishing poses the most potent threat. Unlike standard “Spray and Pray” phishing, spear phishing is a highly targeted and deceptive form of attack. It integrates sophisticated social engineering techniques, often going unnoticed by its target.  In addition, according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report(ISTR), 65% of attackers relied on spear phishing attacks. So, it’s highly important to understand what spear phishing is to create a protective shield against it. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 16th November, 2023 Spear Phishing Definition Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that targets highly specific individuals or roles within an organisation to acquire sensitive information. Spear phishing is much more effective than a standard phishing attack. The attacker does intensive research on their target and uses social engineering techniques to craft a message to make it seem to be from a legitimate source. For instance, they collect personal information about a target and send messages disguising themself as a trustworthy friend to acquire sensitive information. Types of Spear Phishing Attacks Some of the major spear phishing types are: 1. Whaling Phishing It is a highly targeted attack that targets high-profile or high-ranking individuals such as C-suite executives or board members. It also involves non-corporate targets such as celebrities or politicians. Attackers aim to fetch large sums of cash or acquire confidential information that can be used against them—no wonder it requires more research than any other form of spear phishing attacks. 2. Business Email Compromise(BEC) CEO Fraud The threat actors impersonate or hack into the email account of a senior executive, typically a CEO. And instruct lower-level employees to wire money into fraudulent accounts by creating a sense of urgency to make them act abruptly. Email Account Compromise(EAC) Attackers gain access to lower-level employees to send fraudulent emails and trick other employees into sharing confidential information. EAC is often used to acquire the credentials of senior executives to perform CEO fraud. Barrel Phishing It is a phishing attack where scammers send emails to a large number of recipients, pretending to be from a legitimate source. The scammers anticipate that at least one recipient will click on the link to steal sensitive information. Try Our Phishing Simulator Now Get Quote How Does Spear Phishing Attack Work? Spear phishing attack works in various stages; they are: Selection of Target Scammers choose individuals or organisations they want to target based on their goals, whether their goal is to gain large sums of money or sensitive information. Use of Reconnaissance Technique Before commencing the attack, the scammer gathers detailed information about the victim using social media platforms. Crafting Email By using gathered information, scammers craft a personalised email to make it look as if it’s from a legitimate source. This causes the target to immediately lower their guard. For instance, it could be a coworker, manager, or a trustworthy friend of the target. Call to Action Fraudulent emails often have a call to action to create a sense of urgency to ensure the attack works 100% of the time. In the heat of the moment, the target will click the link or download an attachment. This action can lead to serious consequences, including identity theft, data breaches, ransomware attacks, corporate espionage, etc. Covering Footprints After the attack, the scammer removes every trace of the attack to evade detection and prolongs access to the system. Common Targets of Spear Phishing Attacks Spear phishing attacks involve detailed research of a high-value or high-profile individual. Even though they are often time-consuming, they yield a higher anticipated reward than standard phishing attacks. Commonly targeted individuals of spear phishing attacks are: High profile individual Scammers target high-profile individuals like CEOs, politicians or celebrities to steal their sensitive information. Lower-level or New Employees Lower-level or newer employees often fall victim to phishing attacks, as they are frequently unaware of policies or procedures they must follow to prevent spear phishing attempts. Specific Group or Types of Employees Scammers target employees with access to sensitive or confidential information, such as HR or finance executives. Learn how you can protect your staff Contact Us Spear Phishing Characteristics Some of the characteristics of spear phishing are: Targeted Recipients Spear phishing employs highly personalised messages to target specific individuals or organisations. These messages focus on high-profile or high-value individuals, promising substantial rewards. Spear phishing targets specific individuals, unlike standard phishing, which targets a high volume of individuals. Personalised Messages Scammers on various social media platforms conduct intensive research on their targets to formulate emails that create a sense of familiarity, often leading to the disclosure of sensitive information. Sophisticated Tactics and Techniques Scammers use reconnaissance and social engineering techniques to carry out spear phishing attacks. The reconnaissance technique involves intensive gathering of information on a target. At the same time, social engineering techniques involve the manipulation of personality traits to make the target perform a certain action. Common Objectives Spear phishing takes on various forms, but the goal remains the same: extracting sensitive information such as credentials or credit card information. Links to Malicious Websites or Files Scammers use phishing emails, which include links to malicious websites or files created by threat actors, to extract sensitive information when recipients click on them. Common Techniques Used in Spear Phishing Attacks Some of the characteristics of spear phishing are: Social Engineering Techniques Spear phishing attacks thrive on social engineering techniques. They manipulate personality traits such as desire to be helpful or curiosity about events or news. Individuals let their guard down easily with this technique, enabling threat actors to leverage the situation to extract sensitive information. Suspicious Emails and Phone Calls Attackers, using generic or misspelt domains in their emails, disguise themselves as legitimate entities to reach out to their targets through emails and phone calls. Malicious Emails with Attachments or Links

What is a DMARC Record?

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What is A DMARC Record? Know the components of a DMARC record and it’s importance  Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC What is a DMARC Record? In today’s digital landscape, implementing DMARC records to tackle the rising threat of cyberattacks is of utmost importance. These attacks jeopardise sensitive information and put entities interacting with your company at risk. However, you can eradicate this risk by implementing the DMARC record. These records act as robust shields, instructing recipient servers on handling emails that fail authentication checks. By quarantining or rejecting suspicious emails, it provides a much-needed layer of defence. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 16th November, 2023 What is the Purpose of a DMARC Record? A DMARC record has two main purposes. They are: Instruct the recipient server   It guides the recipient server on what to do if the email fails authentication checks like: Reject the message Quarantine the message Allow the message to continue the delivery       2. Send the reports  Reports are sent to the email address mentioned in the DMARC record about all email activities associated with the domain. What does a DMARC Record Look Like? Creating a DMARC record ensures servers can distinguish between legitimate and fake emails. As a result, it protects against various security threats, such as phishing, spoofing, and spamming. Before getting started, we need to learn about DMARC TXT Record tags. Tags Meaning V It represents the protocol version. For example, v=DMARC1 pct It is the percentage of messages subjected to filtering. It ranges from 0 to 100. ruf It indicates the reporting URL for forensic reports. rua It indicates the reporting URL for aggregate reports p It is the policy for the organisational domain. It includes three types of policy. “p=none”“p=quarantine” “p=reject” sp Policy for a subdomain of the organisational domain. adkim Alignment mode for DKIM. aspf Alignment mode for SPF fo Get email samples for messages that fail SPF and DKIM. You can choose four values; “0” if SPF and DKIM fail (Default) “1” if SPF or DKIM fails “d” DKIM failure “S” SPF failure Try our 7 day free DMARC trial now Sign Up Now What DMARC Record Looks Like? Typically, DMARC records consist of plain text, a list of DMARC tags segregated by semicolons. It consists of atleast three components, but you can add other optional tags as per need. It’s necessary to place “v” and “p” tags at the beginning; other tags can follow any order. To get in-depth insight, let’s break down the example of a DMARC record and learn it piece by piece.  “v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:dmarc@yourdomain.com” We have three mandatory tags, v, p and rua, with the values DMARC1, none and mailto:dmarc@yourdomain.com. The v tag indicates the version of DMARC. The p tag is the policy that indicates what action the receiver should take if the message fails the authentication checks. The rua tag sends aggregate reports to a specified email. The prefix mailto: should be added before writing an email address.   Based on specific requirements or needs, you can use other tags like pct, ruf, fo, etc.    DMARC Policy: If your message fails the authentication check, you can specify what actions to take in the policy(p) tag. There are 3 types of policy you can choose from: Monitoring Policy (“p=none“) This policy doesn’t give any protection. But emails are constantly monitored. Generally, during the initial implementation process of DMARC, emails are monitored. Gradually, it is upgraded to quarantine and finally reaches the reject stage.   Quarantine Policy(“p=quarantine”) It places emails that fail authentication checks in the spam or quarantine folder.   Reject policy (“p=reject“) It immediately rejects emails that fail the authentication check. It protects against fraudulent mail by not giving a single chance to reach the recipient’s email. Why are DMARC Records Important? DMARC has grown from a mere option to the absolute necessity for email security and protection against cyber attacks such as email spoofing and phishing attacks. With the surge in technology, the threat actors have come up with new sophisticated techniques to steal company identity and deceive customers and employees. By implementing DMARC, you’re defending against constantly lurking threats. Improved Email Delivery Performance Even your legitimate emails may fail to reach the recipient server’s inbox. To amend this, you can use the DMARC record, which helps to identify and fix any authentication issues. As a result, email delivery performance is enhanced. Reduced Phishing and Spoofing Attacks It is a primary defence against cyberattacks like phishing, spoofing, and identity theft. In addition, it helps domain owners prevent unauthorised parties from sending emails on their behalf. It protects not only the company but also the customers associated with it. Enhanced Brand Protection and Reputation Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight, yet a single mistake can cause your brand to crumble like a chain of falling dominoes. Not only will your company suffer, you’ll likely lose hard-earned loyal customers. In addition to that, your reputation will take a direct hit, and sometimes, it’s impossible to build your reputation the way it was. DMARC record prevents bad actors from impersonating your brand’s domain. It ensures that your employees and customers get only legitimate emails. Furthermore, it will enhance your credibility as a brand that prioritises protecting your customers’ interests. Increased Visibility into Email Sending Behaviour The DMARC record provides ongoing data about the use of your domain, and it also aids in identifying threat actors that impersonate your domain. Moreover, the reporting mechanism of DMARC will instantly recognise if someone is misusing your domain. More Control Over How Your Domain is Used Implementing DMARC records in your domain’s DNS enables you to gather information about the entities sending emails on your behalf. DMARC record eradicates this risk and prevents your domain from being used for malicious purposes. Learn how you can be DMARC compliant Contact Us How Does a DMARC Record Work? Before publishing the DMARC record, it’s essential to implement DKIM and SPF protocols. Combining these three

Navigating New DMARC Email Authentication Rules for High-Volume Senders

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Navigating New DMARC Authentication Rules Google and Yahoo have set strict authentication rules for DMARC, know what that means for you Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC Navigating New DMARC Authentication Rules for High-Volume Senders Unpack the latest DMARC email authentication requirements set by Gmail and Yahoo for high-volume email senders, exceeding 5,000 daily emails. Discover steps for compliance and best practices for email security. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 7th November, 2023 Understanding Managed Email Security The Evolution of Email Security Standards DMARC is in the news once again. Google recently declared a significant change, setting new requirements to be enforced from February 2024. The new requirements are aimed at entities dispatching over 5,000 emails per day to Gmail accounts.  Yahoo! then followed suit with an announcement of their own requiring email authentication. These two announcements signal an industry-wide shift towards stricter email authentication and management practices.  This article will chiefly examine Gmail’s stipulations, as Yahoo!’s changes mirror this new industry benchmark. Previously, email authentication was advised as a best practice to protect sender domains and prevent misuse within the email ecosystem.  With Gmail’s update, these recommendations have now transitioned into mandatory requirements. With 1.2 billion users situated across the globe, Gmail is the most popular, and the biggest, email provider in the world. And with this new announcement, there is no doubt that the largest email provider in the world is taking a more stringent approach to email security. Key Components and the Importance of DMARC Records DMARC: Not Just Recommended, But Essential A critical change is the mandatory publication of a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) record for those meeting Gmail’s specified email volume.  It’s important to note that while the DMARC record must be published, it does not necessarily need to be set to the enforcement level (p=reject or p=quarantine) initially.  This indicates Gmail’s understanding of the complexities involved in implementing DMARC at a large scale, acknowledging the risk of inadvertently blocking legitimate senders. The implementation of DMARC, despite its complexities, remains a best practice for combating domain spoofing and other abuses. It’s a key strategy in maintaining a secure domain and a trustworthy email environment. Try our 7 day free DMARC trial now Sign Up Now Detailed Look at the Newly Enforced Requirements Mandatory Steps for Compliance For effective compliance with these new standards, high-volume senders should focus on several key areas: Implement Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) for email authentication. Establish a DMARC policy for your sending domain. Tools like Valimail can aid in this setup, guiding senders towards achieving enforcement level. Align the domain in the sender’s “From” header with either the SPF or DKIM domain. Validate sending domains or IPs with accurate forward and reverse DNS (PTR) records. Facilitate one-click unsubscribe features in subscribed messages, ensuring the unsubscribe link is easily noticeable. This method is a proactive step in reducing spam complaints and enhancing recipient trust. Keep spam rates reported in Google Postmaster Tools below 0.3%. Format email messages according to the Internet Message Format standard (RFC 5322).   These new requirements redefine what was once an aspirational goal into a necessary standard for high-volume email senders. Google and Yahoo!’s initiatives are driving the industry towards heightened security measures. Although these changes might introduce some initial challenges, they pave the way towards a more secure and effective email communication framework in the long run. As you navigate the complexities of DMARC email authentication rules, especially for high-volume senders, gaining a comprehensive understanding of DMARC becomes crucial. To deepen your knowledge and ensure full compliance, we strongly recommend reading our detailed guide: “What is DMARC?” This guide provides essential insights and actionable steps for effective DMARC implementation, which is not just recommended but essential. Understanding these details will help you comply with the new standards effectively.  Contact us to help with your email authentication requirements. With more than 20,000 customers, we protect 2 million + email inboxes a day. And we’d be delighted to protect yours too! Learn how you can be DMARC compliant Contact Us

Managed Email Security: Why Your Business Needs It

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Managed Email Security & Why Your Business Needs It Know why a Managed Email Security Service is an add on for your organisation Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security Managed Email Security: Why Your Business Needs It In the digital age, our email inboxes serve as the vital gateway to our organisations. Enter Managed Email Security. However, the ever-evolving landscape of email attacks, which has grown both in sophistication and volume, poses a significant threat. Shockingly, over 91% of cyberattacks commence with a phishing email, underscoring the urgency of robust email security measures. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 31st October, 2023 Understanding Managed Email Security Managed Services for Email Security represent comprehensive solutions provided by third-party vendors to bolster your organisation’s email security. These services aim to relieve the burden on your in-house teams and leverage industry-leading email security practices. This guide delves deep into the realm of managed email security services, offering insights to help your email security evolve. Levels of Email Security by Managed Services 1. Business Hours Coverage Most vendors offer Managed Services for Email Security at two levels, catering to your organisation’s specific needs and engagement goals: 2. Full-time Coverage With business hours coverage, email security services are active during standard office hours, providing protection for nine hours a day, five days a week. Beyond these hours, the vendor typically relies on its email protection and security software products. Full-time coverage ensures email security round the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, irrespective of office hours or non-working days. This level of coverage includes operational and strategic support, along with 24×7 incident management through a dedicated security operations centre (SOC). Organisations have the flexibility to choose the coverage level that aligns with their email security requirements. Services Offered by Managed Email Security Providers Managed service providers for email security offer a range of services aimed at fortifying your email security infrastructure: 1. Email Protection Emails are critical conduits of business communication, often carrying sensitive information in the form of attachments and files. Email Protection encompasses various measures, including inbound email authentication, spam policy creation, anti-spoof management, and user directory monitoring, among others. 2. Inbound Filtering Inbound spam filters play a pivotal role in sorting out spam emails, ensuring secure and manageable inboxes. These filters employ advanced techniques like locality-sensitive hashing and heuristics to identify and block spam messages effectively. 3. Outbound Filtering Outbound mail filtering scrutinises emails sent by internal users before dispatch, applying content and malware checks. This proactive approach safeguards against unintentional data leaks and ensures that only safe emails reach their destination. 4. Advanced Threat Protection Managed services extend advanced threat protection (ATP) as part of their email security solutions. ATP safeguards sensitive data against phishing campaigns, malware, and other cyber threats, providing real-time threat visibility and endpoint security. 5. Email Encryption Email encryption services protect your emails and critical information from cyber threats like malware and phishing. By employing techniques like DKIM, SPF, and DMARC authentication, these services identify and block phishing emails, enhancing your email security. 6. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Outbound mail filtering scrutinises emails sent by internal users before dispatch, applying content and malware checks. This proactive approach safeguards against unintentional data leaks and ensures that only safe emails reach their destination. 7. Compliance Control Email security compliance is crucial for safeguarding electronic communications. Managed services providers monitor, enforce policies, and conduct regular email audits to maintain the confidentiality of your organisation’s data. 8. Analysis, Review & Reporting Managed email security services go beyond protection, offering ongoing software maintenance, health checks, and support. They provide valuable reports, including incident tracking, executive-level reporting, and monitoring summaries, essential for informed decision-making. Conclusion: Ensure Email Security Email security is paramount for your organisation’s well-being. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) ensures top-tier security and protection against unauthorised access, data breaches, and email security threats. Managed Services take the responsibility of maintaining, managing, and monitoring your email technologies, allowing your team to focus on core business operations. It’s time to prioritise email security and evolve your approach to safeguarding your digital communication. Managed Email FAQ’s Is there a difference between regular email and secure email? Regular email lacks additional security features and checks, making it susceptible to threats. Secure email offers enhanced security measures, such as data processing and the ability to block suspicious emails and files. Why should I invest in email security? The return on investment in email security depends on factors like licences, package choice, and contract duration. Remember, the cost of a business data breach far outweighs the investment in email security. What are some common email threats today? Common email threats include phishing, spam, business email compromise, malware, ransomware, and DDoS attacks. What is email encryption in transit? Email encryption in transit ensures that emails are unreadable to anyone other than the intended recipient. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the standard method for email encryption in transit. Do encrypted emails still pose a security threat? While encryption protects email content, it doesn’t safeguard against all online threats. Other vulnerabilities, like account hacking, can still pose risks. Learn how our team can keep your data safe Contact Us

Top Email Security Trends for 2024: Staying Ahead of Cyber Threats

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Top Email Security Trends For 2024 Here are the top Email Security trends that we think will shape 2024. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security Top Email Security Trends for 2024 In an era where digital communication dominates our personal and professional lives, ensuring the security of our emails is of paramount importance.  Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, making it essential for individuals and organisations to stay ahead of the game when it comes to email security.  As we step into 2024, let’s delve into the top email security trends that are set to shape the landscape and help you safeguard your digital communication. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 03 October, 2023 1. AI-Powered Threat Detection and Response Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a game-changer in the cybersecurity landscape. Email security is no exception.  In 2024, we can expect AI-powered threat detection and response systems to become even more sophisticated. These systems will analyse email content, sender behaviour, and network anomalies in real-time to identify suspicious patterns and potential threats. Why it matters: AI can recognize and adapt to new types of email threats, reducing false positives. Real-time response to threats helps in containing and mitigating risks swiftly. Organisations can proactively protect their sensitive data from email-based attacks. 2. Zero-Trust Email Security Zero-trust security models are gaining prominence across the cybersecurity spectrum.  Once again, email security is leading the way.  In 2024, the adoption of Zero Trust for emails is expected to soar. This approach involves verifying every email sender and scrutinising the content and attachments, regardless of whether the sender is internal or external. Why it matters: Reduces the risk of email-based insider threats. Protects against email spoofing and phishing attacks. Ensures that only trusted emails reach the inbox. 3. Enhanced Authentication Methods In the coming year, email authentication methods will see significant enhancements.  Technologies like Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) will continue to evolve to provide stronger authentication and better protection against email impersonation and spoofing. Why it matters: Helps organisations establish trust in email communications. Reduces the chances of falling victim to phishing attacks. Enhances the overall security posture of email communication. 4. Advanced Phishing Protection Phishing remains one of the most common and dangerous email-based threats.  In 2024, the sobering news is phishing attacks are expected to become even more sophisticated.  Email security solutions will need to employ advanced techniques, such as machine learning and behavioural analysis, to identify and block phishing attempts effectively. Why it matters: Protects individuals and organisations from falling victim to fraudulent schemes. Minimises the risk of data breaches and financial losses. Maintains the integrity and reputation of your organisation. 6. Email Security Training and Awareness No matter how advanced email security technologies become, human error remains a significant vulnerability.  In 2024, organisations will invest more in email security training and awareness programs to educate their employees about the latest email threats and best practices. Why it matters: Empowers employees to identify and report suspicious emails. Creates a culture of cybersecurity consciousness within the organisation. Reduces the likelihood of successful email-based attacks. 7. Regulatory Compliance and Email Security Data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA have put email security under the regulatory spotlight.  In 2024, compliance with these regulations will continue to be a top priority for organisations. Ensuring that email communication complies with data protection laws will be essential to avoid hefty fines and legal repercussions. Why it matters: Protects organisations from legal and financial penalties. Safeguards customer and employee data. Enhances the trust and reputation of the organisation. 8. Integration with Security Orchestration Effective email security is not just about blocking threats; it’s also about orchestrating a coordinated response when an incident occurs. In 2024, we will witness a greater integration of email security solutions with security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platforms.  This will enable organisations to automate incident response workflows and improve their overall security posture. Why it matters: Reduces response times to email security incidents. Minimises the manual effort required to investigate and mitigate threats. Enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of email security operations. Conclusion As we approach the new year, email security remains a critical aspect of our digital lives. Cybercriminals are continually devising new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, making it imperative for individuals and organisations to stay updated on the latest trends and technologies in email security. In summary, the top email security trends for 2024 include: AI-Powered Threat Detection and Response Zero-Trust Email Security Enhanced Authentication Methods Advanced Phishing Protection Cloud-Based Email Security Email Security Training and Awareness Regulatory Compliance and Email Security Integration with Security Orchestration   By staying informed about these trends and implementing the necessary measures, you can protect your email communications from evolving cyber threats and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data.  As email remains a primary channel of communication for both personal and professional purposes, investing in robust email security solutions and practices is more important than ever. With the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape, organisations and individuals must be proactive in their approach to email security.  By embracing these trends and continuously adapting to new challenges, you can stay ahead of cyber threats and safeguard your digital communication in 2024 and beyond. And Topsec can help you. Learn how our team can keep your data safe Contact Us