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‚Äôd 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

Who Uses DMARC?

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Who Uses DMARC? Know which organisations use DMARC and why it is important to have the right DMARC policy set Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC Who Uses DMARC? When it comes to email communication, trust is key. And let’s face it; email has become an essential tool for individuals, businesses, and organisations. With the rise in email attacks and spoofing, strong protection is more important than ever. Many organisations have turned to Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance, also known as (DMARC).¬† But who uses DMARC? It’s a question that many people still wonder about. Well, the answer is simple – anyone who wants to protect their email domain from being used for malicious purposes. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 16 September, 2023 What is DMARC? Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is a widely used advanced email authentication protocol that helps organisations to protect from malicious activities such as phishing, smishing and email fraud.¬† DMARC collaborates with two other important authentication methods, SPF (Sender Policy Network) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), designed to secure your emails against misuse and forgery.¬† Explore our comprehensive guide on DMARC, which covers all the essential information about DMARC that you need to know. “SPF (Sender Policy Framework) enables domain owners to specify which servers can send emails on their behalf. Meanwhile, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was not faked or altered.” Why is DMARC Important? DMARC provides a robust framework and the flexibility to specify how email recipients should treat unauthenticated emails that proclaim to be from your domain.¬† DMARC is necessary to combat email fraud, safeguard individuals and organisations from email scams, and promote brand reputation. It also helps create a secure environment for you and your stakeholders. Get Your Policy=Reject Contact Topsec today Get Quote Who Uses DMARC? Whether you’re a small business owner, a non-profit organisation, or a large corporation, DMARC is mandatory for your email security. It safeguards your email and ensures your recipients know your messages come from a trusted source. Listed below are some of many who can reap its strong protection: Email Service Providers (ESPs) Email service providers can fully use DMARC to enhance their email infrastructure security. It ensures that customers receive only authenticated email messages. Many email service providers, such as Gmail, Microsoft (Outlook), Yahoo Mail, and Apple (iCloud mail), have already leveraged DMARC. Government Agencies It is a must for government bodies to implement DMARC to handle sensitive and critical information through email.¬† Be it at local, regional, or national levels, implementing DMARC helps them fight against phishing attempts and secure their communication channels. Financial Institutions Financial industries are vulnerable to a cyber threat that aims to steal sensitive data. DMARC plays a crucial role in assisting banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to safeguard their customers. Healthcare Organisations Many healthcare providers are transitioning their operations online. They deal with patients’ sensitive data through emails, and DMARC helps secure this communication to ensure patient privacy. Educational Institutions Schools, colleges and universities regularly communicate through email. DMARC adds an essential layer of defence. It stops attackers from impersonating employees or students with fake email addresses. Technology Companies The technology sector is a prime target for cyber threats. DMARC is an essential tool for software companies, tech startups, and IT service providers to maintain their email security and build trust with their clients. Non-Profit Organisations Email is a crucial channel for raising funds and reaching out to donors, partners, and supporters of non-profit organisations. Unfortunately, cybercriminals take this as an opportunity to exploit the parties involved. Imposing DMARC strengthens NPOs’ defence and credibility by protecting donors’ personal information and preventing donation loss due to email scams. Businesses and Corporations Companies of all sizes heavily rely on email for internal or external communications. Deploying DMARC protects the sensitive information shared through email, such as financial data, trade secrets and strategic plans. Additionally, it provides a layer of trust in its customers by ensuring that emails sent from the organisation’s domain are legitimate and verified. E-commerce Companies E-commerce deals with fragile consumer data and conducts transactions through email every day. They need to ensure proper email security. DMARC protects customers from fraudulent emails and phishing attacks. Individuals Individuals often use email for various purposes, including financial transactions, such as online purchases, invoice payments, and banking communications. DMARC ensures that emails from financial institutions are legitimate and prevents fraudulent attempts to steal personal and financial information. Contact Us to implement your DMARC Policy Call Us Now Examples of Global Organisations using DMARC Several prominent global organisations have adopted DMARC to bolster their email security and protect their email domains from phishing and fraud. Brands and organisations who have efficiently implemented DMARC, DKIM, and SPF include: Apple ( Dell Computers ( Amazon ( Walmart ( Uber ( WhatsApp ( PayPal ( Facebook ( Twitter ( Instagram ( Costco ( TOPSEC for DMARC Protection In the ever-evolving landscape of email threats, businesses must stay one step ahead and take proactive measures to protect their communication channels. It’s never too late to take steps to secure your email communications. With precise threat detection, a comprehensive security solution and a fully managed approach, Topsec provides exceptional email security services for businesses and organisations.¬† Protect your email defences with Topsec DMARC Protection to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of your email communications. Request a quote today. Conclusion DMARC’s strong protection and easy implementation are a no-brainer for anyone who takes email security services seriously. Safeguarding email communication and maintaining customer trust are top priorities for any organisation. DMARC plays a crucial role in the fight against email-related cybersecurity threats, providing a proactive approach that helps organisations comply with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR (‚Äč‚ÄčGeneral Data Protection Regulation).¬† Implementing DMARC protects email data from unauthorised access, enabling organisations to uphold the confidentiality and security of their client’s information.¬† FAQ’s Is DMARC only for email? DMARC

How Does DMARC Work?

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How Does DMARC Work? Learn the technical specification of DMARC and how a DMARC policy works Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC How Does DMARC Work? Email communication is a crucial aspect of daily operations when you run an organisation. You and your team exchange emails daily, which may contain sensitive information that could be compromised by various risks. Therefore, the security of your email communication becomes crucial. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 3 August, 2023 Taking the necessary measures to safeguard your email communication will help protect your organisation‚Äôs valuable data and maintain your stakeholders’ trust. Hence, DMARC services (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) play a powerful solution to enhance your organisation‚Äôs email security.¬† What is DMARC in email? DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance, a security protocol used to authenticate an email. It protects domain owners from spam, phishing, and other email scams that can happen through email. It combines two essential components such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), that provide a framework to verify the authenticity of incoming email messages. Take a look at our comprehensive DMARC guide to get all the necessary information. What Are SPF, DNS and DKIM? Through SPF (Sender Policy Framework), you can specify which IP addresses can send emails from your domain. When an email is received, the receiving email server checks the SPF record to verify if the sender‚Äôs IP address is authorised to send emails for that particular domain. If the email fails the SPF check, it is considered potentially fraudulent. ‚ÄúDNS (Domain Name System) acts as a phonebook for the internet. When you type a domain name like ‚Äú‚ÄĚ into your web browser, the DNS system translates that domain name into the corresponding IP address (such as that identifies the server where the website is hosted. ‚Äú DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) is an email authentication method that adds an extra layer of security by digitally signing outgoing emails with a private key and attaching the signature to the email headers. The recipient‚Äôs server then uses the public key published in the DNS to verify the authenticity and integrity of the email. This ensures that the message originated from the authorised domain. However, SPF and DKIM alone cannot fully protect against email fraud. This is where DMARC plays an important role. It builds upon SPF and DKIM to provide a comprehensive framework for email authentication and policy enforcement. Get Your Policy=Reject Contact Topsec today Get Quote The Link Between DMARC, SPF, and DKIM in Email Authentication DMARC, SPF, and DKIM work together to authenticate emails and prevent fraudulent activities. SPF helps verify the sender‚Äôs IP address. DKIM verifies the integrity and authenticity of the email, and DMARC allows domain owners to set policies and receive reports on email authentication. ¬† Together, these protocols prevent email fraud, phishing, and spoofing attacks, providing more secure email communication. Technical Specifications of DMARC DMARC is a flexible protocol that domain owners can customise based on their needs. The technical specifications of DMARC are as follows: DMARC Record A DMARC record is a simple text file that stores a domain‚Äôs DMARC policy. It instructs email receivers on what actions to take when an email fails DMARC authentication and where to send reports. The DMARC record includes various parameters, such as the chosen DMARC policy, which determines how emails that fail DMARC validation are handled. Policy Modes DMARC allows domain owners to specify different policy modes if an email fails the SPF or DKIM process. There are three different policy modes, such as “None,” “Quarantine,” and “Reject.” Alignment Two alignment checks known as SPF Alignment and DKIM Alignment ensure the “From” header domains match the authenticated domains used in SPF and DKIM. Reporting DMARC sends reports to domain owners known as “Aggregate Reports” and “Failure Reports”. These reports provide SPM and DKIM statistics, alignment results, sending sources, and more. Subdomain Policy DMARC allows domain owners to specify separate policies for subdomains to enable control over email authentication for different subdomains. DMARC Tag-Value Syntax DMARC uses a specific syntax to provide instructions or information. The common tags used in DMARC records include “v” for protocol version, “p” for policy, “rua” for aggregate report addresses, “ruf” for failure report addresses, and “sp” for subdomain policies. Contact Us to implement your DMARC Policy Call Us Now How Does DMARC Work? DMARC offers domain owners and organisations a framework to specify how email receivers should handle unauthenticated emails that claim to come from their domain. It helps to ensure the safety and security of email communication. Here‚Äôs a step-by-step explanation of how DMARC works: Setting up DMARC Record: The domain owners add DMARC records to the DNS zone file. The record includes the DMARC policy for the domain and provides instructions to email receivers on handling incoming emails from that domain. Incoming Email: When receiving an email, the server checks whether the DMARC record is in the sender’s domain DNS. SPF and DKIM Checks: The recipient‚Äôs email server then performs SPF and DKIM checks for the email‚Äôs authenticity. SPF validates the sender‚Äôs IP address, while DKIM verifies the digital signature associated with the email. ¬† DMARC Alignment: Once the SPF and DKIM checks are completed, DMARC checks if the “From” header domain matches the domain authorised in the SPF and DKIM checks. The DMARC alignment ensures the email is sent from an authorised sender and hasn‚Äôt been spoofed. DMARC Policy Evaluation: The recipient‚Äôs email server evaluates the SPF and DKIM results based on the specified DMARC policy. There are three types of DMARC policies: None Policy (“p=none”): In the None policy, no specific action is taken on unauthenticated emails. However, reports are still generated and sent to the domain owner for monitoring. Quarantine Policy (“p=quarantine”): Under Quarantine policy, an email that fails authentication is considered suspicious and placed in the recipient‚Äôs spam or quarantine folder. Reject Policy (“p=reject”): When the Reject policy is specified, all

What is DMARC? A Complete Guide


What is DMARC? A Complete Guide Having a DMARC policy helps in authenticating your email and protects brand reputation. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security > DMARC What is DMARC? A Complete Guide DMARC is an open email authentication protocol that provides robust domain-level fortification of the email communication channel. It is a robust shield protecting email domain owners from unsolicited exploitation and malicious activities. DMARC is a protocol‚ÄĒessentially a set of rules‚ÄĒthat dictates how email receivers and senders handle email authentication. By Cian Fitzpatrick | 18 July, 2023 DMARC significantly diminishes the likelihood of phishing and spoofed emails breaching security and ending up in an end user’s inbox. It has proven an indispensable ally in the relentless battle against email-related cybersecurity threats. What does DMARC stand for? DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. It functions as a roadmap to guide the email authentication process. It offers email domain owners a mechanism to defend against misuse and potential cyber threats while ensuring the unhindered flow of authorised emails. What is DMARC in email? DMARC in email operates as a steadfast security guard for your domain. It‚Äôs a policy allowing domain owners to specify that their emails are protected by SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). It communicates to the recipient‚Äôs mail server how to handle emails from your domain that fail SPF and DKIM checks‚ÄĒthereby adding an additional layer of authenticity and security. How does DMARC work? DMARC is a vital line of defence in email security, following SPF and DKIM. When an email arrives, the recipient‚Äôs mail server initiates a DMARC check. This check involves verifying whether the email aligns with the DMARC policy specified by the domain owner. If the email passes the DMARC check, it lands safely in the recipient‚Äôs inbox. If it fails, however, the recipient‚Äôs mail server takes action according to the DMARC policy‚ÄĒeither marking the email as spam, rejecting it entirely, or delivering it with a warning. If you’re curious about the intricate details of the verification process, delve deeper by reading our comprehensive post on How does DMARC work? Key Components of DMARC DMARC comprises several integral components, each performing a unique function in the email authentication process. There are three key components-¬†DMARC Record, DMARC Report and DMARC Authentication. Understanding these components can greatly enhance your ability to leverage DMARC for improved email security. DMARC Record A DMARC record is a text (TXT) entry in your domain‚Äôs DNS (Domain Name System) record. It specifies the DMARC policies for your domain. When a recipient‚Äôs mail server receives an email from your domain, it checks the DNS for your DMARC record to determine how to handle the email. DMARC record lets you decide whether to reject, quarantine, or accept emails that fail DMARC checks. DMARC Report A DMARC report is a document generated by the recipient‚Äôs mail server after it has checked an email against your DMARC policy. It provides vital information on who is sending emails on your behalf, the number of emails sent, and the number of those emails that passed or failed DMARC checks. DMARC reports are invaluable for identifying potential issues and ensuring your email authentication protocols work as intended. DMARC Authentication DMARC authentication is the process by which the recipient‚Äôs mail server verifies an email against the DMARC policy specified in your DNS. It checks whether the email passes SPF and DKIM checks and whether the domain in the DKIM signature or the domain in the email’s return-path (envelope from) aligns with the domain in the email’s header-from. The email is authenticated if it passes these checks; if not, the mail server takes action as specified in your DMARC policy. Get Your Policy=Reject Contact Topsec today Get Quote DMARC, SPF, and DKIM: A Comparison Email authentication can often appear as a complex maze of acronyms. Appreciating how these different security measures‚ÄĒDMARC, SPF, and DKIM‚ÄĒinteract and complement one another is important. What are DMARC, DKIM, and SPF? DMARC, SPF, and DKIM are all authentication methods designed to secure your emails against misuse and forgery. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) enables domain owners to specify which servers can send emails on their behalf. Meanwhile, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was not faked or altered. DMARC unifies the SPF and DKIM authentication mechanisms into a common framework. It allows domain owners to declare how they would like an email from that domain handled if it fails authentication. What is a DMARC policy? A DMARC policy is a specification that the domain owner sets in their DMARC record. It instructs the recipient‚Äôs mail server on actions to take if an email fails DMARC authentication. The policy can be set to none (take no action), quarantine (mark as spam or segregate), or reject (discard the email). What are the different types of DMARC policies? Monitor (p=none): It allows all emails, even those failing DMARC checks, to be delivered, usually for monitoring purposes.¬† Quarantine (p=quarantine): It places failing emails into the spam or junk folder. Reject (p=reject): It blocks delivery of non-compliant emails. How to choose the right DMARC policy? Choosing the right DMARC policy depends on your organisation‚Äôs risk appetite and your confidence in your email authentication setup. If you‚Äôre beginning with DMARC, a ‘none’ policy can be a good starting point for monitoring your email flow. Once you‚Äôve optimised your SPF and DKIM setups and are confident about the legitimacy of your outgoing emails, you can move to a ‘quarantine’ policy and eventually a ‘reject’ policy for full protection. Contact Us to implement your DMARC Policy Call Us Now How to Implement Your DMARC Policy? To implement DMARC, you must ensure your emails are SPF and DKIM-compliant. Next, you publish a DMARC record in your DNS with a ‘none’ policy for monitoring. After analysing the DMARC reports and resolving any issues, you can gradually move to a ‘quarantine’ and then a ‘reject’ policy. Common challenges

What is Smishing? A Complete Guide

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What is Smishing? A Complete Guide Malicious actors are using Smishing techniques to disguise themselves as reputable companies. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Phishing > Smishing What is Smishing? A Complete Guide Smishing is a type of phishing cybercrime where mobile text messages are used as bait. Also called SMS phishing, hackers use mobile SMS to disguise themselves as reputable companies, then trick the user into sharing personal information like passwords and credit card numbers. By Cian Fitzpatrick | May 29, 2023 Smishing is similar to phishing, with the only difference being that smishing uses mobile phone SMS and phishing uses email attachments. Cybercriminals deceive the targeted victim by sending an attractive text. The compelling message tempts the victim to click the link sent by the scammer. That link either shares private information from the target’s smartphone or instals malicious software inside the victim’s phone. How does Smishing Work? Cybercriminals send a mobile text message in the name of someone credible about a lucrative offer. The compelling message realistically impersonates a reputable organisation and lures the victim to comply and follow the hacker’s instructions. The hackers send you a malicious link as part of the process. Once downloaded on users’ phones, the link fetches the user’s personal information, like passwords and credit card numbers. Sometimes, the link is also used for ransomware attempts. Once the hackers get access to your phone, they might hold the confidential information inside that phone as ransom. Types of Smishing Attacks Smishing attacks come in different, misleading forms. These targeted attacks aim to trick users into believing that the SMS text is sent from a reliable source. The decoy sounds realistic and tempting for normal users, luring them into the trap. Below are a few examples of the most recurring smishing attacks: COVID-19 Smishing Hackers use smishing techniques to catch users off guard and in their most vulnerable situations. Covid-19 Smishing occurred during the desperate coronavirus outbreak of 2019. The pandemic created a chaotic environment for everyone, and the concerned health or government authorities were desperate to pass and receive communications. The distressing environment was such that people consequently followed any instructions that seemed logical and valid. Hackers used the vulnerable situation and sent SMS messages in the names of government health officials, asking to download links for surveys or breaking news. Gift Smishing Gift smishing is yet another prominent smishing trick. It comes in the form of free offers of services or products from popular stores or trusted companies. These offers could be in the form of contest prizes, shopping rewards, or other attractive giveaways. Hackers take advantage of the idea of getting something for free to make you act quickly without thinking. They might create a sense of urgency by giving you a limited response time or claiming that you’ve been specially chosen for a free gift card. Financial Services Smishing Smishing scams also involve sending fake messages resembling notifications from banks or financial institutions. These messages deceive people using banking and credit card services, whether generic or targeted to a specific institution. These smishing attacks frequently include scams related to loans and investments. The attackers pose as a bank or financial institution to gain trust but aim to commit financial fraud. Warning signs of a smishing scam in the financial services category include urgent requests to unlock your account or verify suspicious account activity. Customer Support Smishing A support-based smishing scam includes receiving messages about billing problems, difficulties accessing your account, unusual activity on your account, or promises to address a recent customer complaint. The scammers impersonate helpful representatives from reputable companies like Apple, Google, or Amazon and claim an issue with your account. They provide instructions to resolve it, which are as simple as clicking on a fake login page or as complex as providing a genuine account recovery code to reset your password. Invoice and Order Confirmation Smishing Confirmation smishing scams users with fake confirmations for a recent purchase or bill related to a service. The scammers might send a link to make you curious or anxious about potential charges, pushing you to act quickly. Avoid Falling Into Smishing Traps. Contact Topsec today to secure your valuable information Click Here Statistics on the Number of People Affected by Smishing Attacks Consumer Reports states that the FTC logged 378,119 complaints in 2021 related to fraudulent activities through unwanted text messages, including smishing attempts. This represents a higher number than the 332,000 complaints received in 2020, indicating increased unwanted texts and smishing incidents. ¬† According to a CNET report in 2020, Smishing made up a significant portion of reported fraud cases, representing 21% of all instances. ¬† According to KCRA, in 2021, out of the total 87.8 billion scam texts sent, more than 5.6 billion were spam texts that falsely claimed to offer free COVID-19 tests. ¬† According to Robokiller’s 2022 Insights & Analysis, cybercriminals who engaged in smishing successfully stole an alarming $20.6 billion (USD) from Americans in 2022. This amount reflects a substantial 105% increase compared to the $10 billion reported in the previous year, underscoring the growing magnitude of the issue. ¬† OpSec Security reports that in 2020, smishing scams led to Americans losing more than $50 million (USD), as stated by the FBI. Moreover, there was a remarkable 700% surge in the number of scam text messages reported to authorities during the first half of 2021. ¬† According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), adults between the ages of 25 and 44 are the most susceptible to receiving Smishing. ¬† According to Robokiller’s 2022 Insights & Analysis, cybercriminals who engaged in smishing successfully stole an alarming $20.6 billion (USD) from Americans in 2022. ¬† AARP highlights that smishing fraud plays a significant role in its impact on mental health. Individuals targeted by any type of fraud often face various mental health difficulties. Specifically, victims of smishing schemes commonly encounter negative emotions, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression, underscoring the expected consequences of such incidents.

What is Ransomware? A Complete Guide


What is Ransomware? A Complete Guide Know the in’s and out’s of ransomware and how to prevent it from affecting your organisation. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Ransomware What is Ransomware? A Complete Guide Ransomware is a malicious attempt to collect ransom by blackmailing you to publish or harm your data or computer system. The hacker usually enters and controls your computer system through encryption and email phishing. They notoriously demand ransom money with a deadline and threaten to misuse your computer page or data if you fail to comply. By Cian Fitzpatrick | April 13, 2023 Cybercriminals find a way to enter your computer via infected email attachments or web links. They take control over the whole computer through the attachment you download or the link you click. Anyone can fall into these traps, and it is essential to be aware of these threats to stop them. Ransomware is not just another cybersecurity issue nowadays. Many industries use digital solutions to store valuable data and information in their digital databases. And falling victim to ransomware makes victims more vulnerable to paying higher fees because of the availability of such invaluable information to scammers. Criminals with access to such crucial data, devices, or systems can also threaten to publicly disclose or sell the data on the dark web, thereby powering the attacker while bargaining for ransom. Ransomware is becoming increasingly devastating and destructive if we look back at the past half-decade. Although financial motives have consistently driven ransomware perpetrators, victims’ potential refusal to pay the ransom poses even greater risks, as hackers may misuse or make the data and information available to the public. History of Ransomware 1980’s The first ransomware attempt dates back to the late 1980s. A Harvard graduate biologist, Joseph L. Popp, sends out over 20,000 floppy discs to the attendees of the World Health Organisation’s AIDS conference. He initially says that the disc is a survey done for AIDS minimization and convinces the event guests that it only carries relevant questionnaires. Therefore, Popp gets access to the computer systems and blocks them, asking for $189 to return them to normalcy. Unfortunately, his extortion plans did not go as planned, as the malware attempt was deciphered soon before most victims sent money to his Panama hideaway. This was the first ever known attempt at extortion through computer hacking, making Popp the “father of ransomware.” 2000’s Ransomware would go silent for the next few decades but ultimately return in the early 2000s. It was a booming era of the internet, and email became popular, becoming part of everybody’s lifestyle. And so, with the development of internet benefits, ill-intentioned misusing by the general public was also on the rise. The scams were no longer on floppy discs. Scammers were using email phishing and website links as bait to lure in potential victims. 2010’s In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack struck on a massive global scale, impacting hundreds of thousands of systems across more than 150 countries and various industries. This event is often regarded as the largest ransomware attack in history. 2020’s When the Maze group disbanded in 2020, a new threat emerged: the double-extortion Egregor RaaS variant. Interestingly, after collecting the ransom, the attackers gave victims tips on enhancing their system security. Over the last five years, “big-game hunting” has come to represent the increasing focus on targeting large corporations in cyberattacks. While earlier ransomware attacks were aimed at multiple individual victims, attackers now concentrate on thoroughly researching high-profile targets to maximise their profits. Some notable recent victims include the cities of Atlanta and Baltimore, Colonial Pipeline, and JBS USA. The global COVID-19 pandemic further fueled the growth of double extortion variants and RaaS. In a significant incident in May 2021, the REvil RaaS variant was employed in a large-scale attack against managed service provider Kaseya. The attackers demanded a whopping $70 million to release over one million compromised devices. Types of Ransomware Cyberattacks nowadays come in different forms. They enter and hold a valuable area of your business’s digital platform, demanding a ransom fee. Recent incidents have indicated that some criminals show no mercy at all when it comes to ransomware. So let’s look into and understand the most recurring forms of ransomware: Scareware Scareware is malicious software that falsely claims to have found a virus or other issue on your device. It then urges you to download or buy harmful software to address the problem. Typically, scareware serves as an entry point to build up more complex cyberattacks rather than being an independent attack. Screen lockers Screen-locking ransomware takes control of your computer by blocking access to the operating system. When you turn on the device, you will only see a ransom message or a fake one pretending to be from a trusted source like the FBI. And the message will ask you for payment to get your computer back. Encrypting ransomware Encrypting ransomware is the most common and recurring form of ransomware. You can view folders and applications on your device but cannot open those files. File names are often changed, and a new file or message containing a ransom note is typically added. Some Popular Ransomware Variants: Ransomware Examples Since it first appeared 30 years ago, ransomware has been evolving with technology. The world has witnessed numerous cybercrime attempts through ransomware, and an uncountable number of firms have fallen into this trap. We have compiled the most common and famous ransomware variants: Ryuk Ryuk is one of the most notorious ransomware types. It targets large Microsoft Windows systems used by public organisations. It encrypts the data on infected operating systems and makes it inaccessible until the victims pay a ransom, typically in untraceable Bitcoin. Ryuk targets businesses and institutions rather than individual consumers. REvil (Sodinokibi) Sodinokibi (REvil or Ransomware Evil) surfaced in 2019 as a private ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation. It uses affiliates for distribution, sharing ransom profits between developers and affiliates. Sodinokibi targets high-profile attacks against large organisations and public figures, seeking substantial

What is Phishing? A Complete Guide

A top view of a laptop with three credit cards on top of it held by a phishing hook

What is Phishing? A Complete Guide Train your employees to watch out and repport phishing emails. Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security What is Phishing? A Complete Guide Phishing is a type of online fraud where attackers use social engineering tactics to trick individuals into sharing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal data. Read our blog to best know how to protect yourself from these phishing attacks. By Cian Fitzpatrick | April 13, 2023 Phishing refers to a cybercrime where individuals are contacted through email, phone, or text by individuals posing as credible institutions. The aim is to coax them into sharing sensitive data such as personal information, bank account and credit card details, and passwords. This information is then used to access crucial accounts, potentially causing financial harm and identity theft. Phishing Definition To deceive the victim into clicking on a malicious link, phishing employs impersonating a trustworthy source through email, instant messages, or text messages. This can lead to installing malware, system freezing by a ransomware attack, or revealing confidential data. In addition, cybercriminals use phishing as a means to infiltrate corporate or governmental networks, often as part of a more extensive attack like an advanced persistent threat (APT) event. Hackers override security measures, introduce malware, and acquire privileged access to confidential data by compromising employees. A phishing attack can have severe consequences, including unauthorised purchases, theft of funds, and identity theft. If an organisation is targeted, it can result in significant financial losses, damage to reputation and consumer trust, and a decline in market share. Depending on the extent of the attack, a phishing attempt can escalate into a security incident that can be challenging for a business to recover from. How does Phishing work? Attackers send malicious email messages or other communication methods that resemble legitimate ones. The more the message appears real, the greater the chance of success. The attackers’ goals are usually to obtain personal information or credentials, creating a sense of urgency in the message to make users feel threatened. This manipulative technique leads to the victim’s compliance even to unreasonable demands. Organisations must train staff to recognise the latest phishing tactics; it only takes one person to fall for a phishing attempt and trigger a severe data breach. It is why phishing is considered one of the most challenging and critical threats to mitigate. Dangers of Phishing Personal phishing risks Personal phishing targets individuals through phone calls, emails, or text messages. Attackers pose as trustworthy entities like government agencies, banks, or famous companies to obtain sensitive information like credit card details, usernames, and passwords. This information can be used to steal money or commit identity theft. Personal phishing attacks can devastate individuals as they lack the same level of security as large organisations. Individuals should be cautious of unsolicited messages and regularly update their passwords to protect themselves. Organisational phishing risks Organisational phishing is a cyber attack that targets businesses, governments, and institutions using fake emails, text messages, or phone calls to obtain sensitive information such as login credentials, financial data, or other confidential details. Attackers use this data to steal funds or launch advanced attacks. Phishing attacks can result in severe financial and reputational damage, particularly when involving sensitive data or intellectual property. Organisations must implement robust security measures, including employee training, to reduce the risk of falling prey to these attacks. Common Traits of Phishing Phishing is an illegal technique used to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. Here are some common indicators of a phishing attempt that you should be aware of to stay safe: Requests for sensitive information Generic greetings or lack of personalisation Spelling or grammatical errors Unofficial or unfamiliar sender information Urgent requests or sense of urgency Unfamiliar or mismatched URLs Suspicious or misleading hyperlinks Threats or scare tactics Requests for immediate action Tempting or too-good-to-be-true offers ¬† Protect your business from phishing attacks today by signing up for our Managed Phishing Awareness Training program. Click Here Phishing Attacks: Statistics and Examples The 2022 Cost of Data Breach Report by IBM affirms that data breaches are mostly due to the usage of stolen or compromised credentials. Such credentials were the primary attack method in 19% of breaches this year, a slight decline from 20% in 2021.¬† In 2022, 19% of data breaches were primarily caused by stolen or compromised credentials, showing a small decline from 2021’s 20% statistic. The average cost of breaches resulting from this type of attack was $4.5m, and it took 243 days to detect and 84 days to control, which is 16.6% longer than the average time to identify and manage a data breach. Phishing was the second most frequent cause of data breaches, accounting for 16% of incidents and costing $4.91m. Examples: In August 2022, Acorn Financial Services suffered a security breach when an employee was targeted in a phishing attack. The attackers stole login credentials and accessed sensitive information, including client details. Acorn conducted an investigation and informed affected customers. The breach could have been prevented or minimised with a phishing detection system in place. Twilio experienced a security breach in August 2022. The breach was caused by an SMS phishing attack in which employees were directed to a fake authentication site that looked like Twilio’s real site. The employees unknowingly entered their login credentials on the fake site, which allowed the attackers to gain access to Twilio’s internal resources and customer data. The attackers compromised 93 Authy accounts and potentially exposed 1,900 accounts on the encrypted communication app Signal, but they wouldn’t have been able to access message history or contact lists. Types of Phishing Attacks 1) Spear phishing Spear phishing involves targeting specific individuals in an organisation, typically those with high-level access, through email. This tactic aims to deceive victims into providing confidential information, transferring funds, or downloading malicious software. 2) Business email compromise (BEC) Business email compromise (BEC) involves the perpetrator pretending to be someone the recipient trusts, such as

What is Email Security? A Complete Guide

A businessman works on his laptop at home with a virtual display and secure email

What is Email Security? A Complete Guide Why do you need to have a managed email security solution? Get a Quote Download Datasheet Email Security What is Email Security? A Complete Guide In today’s threat landscape, learning how to protect yourself and your business from cybersecurity and email security threats is essential. This guide will tell you all you need to know about email security and how to prevent malware, spam, and phishing attacks. By Cian Fitzpatrick | March 10, 2023 Email security protects accounts and messages from unauthorised access, data loss, or compromise. To strengthen security, organisations can use policies and tools to prevent threats like malware, spam, and phishing attacks. Email accounts are often targeted by cyber attackers since they provide a vulnerable entry point to other accounts and devices. A single unintentional click can trigger a security breach with severe consequences for the entire organisation. How secure is email? An email was created to promote openness and accessibility, allowing individuals and people from the same or other organisations to communicate with one another. Nevertheless, the inherent security of Email is not dependable, which will enable attackers to bypass it and make money. These attackers conduct spam campaigns, deploy malware and phishing attacks, execute advanced targeted attacks, or conduct business email compromise (BEC) schemes. Due to the extensive usage of Email as a primary mode of communication in most organisations, attackers exploit its vulnerabilities to steal sensitive information. As Email is an open format, it is open to interception by anyone, raising concerns about email security. The issue became particularly acute as organisations began transmitting confidential or sensitive information through email. This could be easily read by an attacker who intercepts it. Organisations are enhancing security measures to deter attackers from accessing sensitive or confidential information. Topsec is also a part of this intense security drive. We offer tailored email security services individually designed for your company‚Äôs specialized needs and desires. Types of email threats Data exfiltration Data exfiltration refers to unauthorised data extraction from an organisation, either utilizing manual transfer or malicious software. Email gateways are useful in preventing businesses from transmitting sensitive data without proper authorisation, preventing a costly data breach. Malware Malware is a term for malicious software designed to cause damage or disturbance to computer systems. These malicious software comes in various forms, such as viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware. Spam Spam refers to unsolicited messages sent in large quantities without the recipient’s consent. Businesses often use spam email for commercial purposes. But scammers use it to spread malware, deceive recipients into sharing sensitive information, or demand money through extortion. Impersonation Impersonation is a deceptive tactic used by cybercriminals who pose as a trusted individual, sender, or entity via email to extract money or data. A business email compromise is one such instance where a scammer acts like an employee with the intent to steal from the company, its customers, or its partners. Phishing Phishing is a fraudulent practice that involves impersonating a trustworthy individual or organisation to deceive victims into sharing valuable information, such as login credentials or other forms of sensitive data. It can take various forms, including spear phishing, smishing, vishing, and whaling. Spoofing Email spoofing is a risky threat that involves tricking the recipient into believing that the Email originates from someone other than the actual sender, making it a useful tool for business email compromise (BEC). Since the email system only reads metadata that the attacker can easily alter, it is difficult for the email platform to differentiate between a fake and a real email. Furthermore, it makes it relatively easy for the attacker to impersonate a person known or respected by the victim. Protect your emails from spam, phishing & malware attacks with Topsec’s managed email security solution. Request A Quote Now & Safeguard Your Business Today! Click Here Why is Email Security Important? For over twenty years, email has been a crucial communication tool in the workplace. With an average of 120 emails received daily by employees worldwide and over 333 billion emails sent and received daily by individuals. However, cybercriminals view the widespread use of email as an opportunity to initiate attacks, such as phishing campaigns, malware, and business email compromise. Shockingly, 94% of all cyberattacks commence with a malicious email.¬† According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), cybercrime caused over $4.1 billion in losses in 2020, with business email compromise causing the most significant harm. The impact of a successful attack can be severe, leading to significant financial, data, and reputational damage for organisations. Therefore, email security is necessary to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information, to ensure business continuity, and to uphold trust with customers and stakeholders. Email Security Policies In today’s corporate world, email has become an indispensable tool for communication, leading many organisations to implement protocols for handling email traffic. One of the initial policies that most businesses adopt pertains to monitoring the content of emails passing through their email servers. Determining the appropriate actions based on the email’s contents is critical. Once the fundamental policies are in place, companies can implement additional security measures to safeguard their emails. Organisations can implement various email security policies, ranging from basic measures like filtering out executable content to more complex ones, such as subjecting questionable content to in-depth analysis using sandboxing tools. For security incidents, the organisation must clearly understand the nature and extent of the attack to assess the damage caused. By having visibility into all outgoing emails, organisations can also impose email encryption policies to ensure that sensitive information is not compromised. Email Security best practices To establish good email security practices, organisations should consider implementing a secure email gateway as a first step. This gateway is responsible for scanning and filtering all inbound and outbound emails to prevent malicious threats from entering the system. That said, traditional security measures like blocking suspicious attachments are no longer adequate due to the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks. Hence, organisations should deploy