Cyber-attacks and incidents used to be unknown for many businesses. Today, we have a completely different picture with a 600% cybercrime increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, now targeting 43% of SMBs. It is now a top concern to all companies, and that alone should make you worry about the most prominent kind of cyber threats: Email attacks.
There’s a lot you need to be aware of if you want to protect your business adequately. And the first step is to determine what email vulnerabilities, threats, and exploits are before you set up a plan to overcome all of them.
The difference between vulnerabilities, threats, and exploits
In the world of cybersecurity, a vulnerability is a weakness that can, at some point, be exploited by cybercriminals. The same goes for email vulnerabilities which can thus be any vulnerability in your email protection system. For instance, an operating system may have a software bug that, if not fixed (usually patched by a later version) may be exploited by attackers. An interesting fact is that vulnerabilities don’t need to be in software - They can be about processes and people - for instance, if you keep your files in an unprotected Disk Drive that you frequently take with you in your bag or car, that’s a vulnerability that can be explored (exploited) if someone robs your belongings.
When it comes to threats, an email threat is any hypothetical event through which a cybercriminal can utilize a vulnerability. There are plenty of different email threats in existence, and you need to make sure your business is protected from each one.
Lastly, an exploit is when someone finds a particular vulnerability in your systems - in this case, your email servers and protection, and decides to exploit that vulnerability - use it to cast an attack on you.
These are the primary differences between the three, but you will still need to go in more in-depth to understand how you can protect yourself.
Understanding the email risks
The fact here is, you need to know about the many email threats that can target your business, but you mostly need to know about the vulnerabilities your email ecosystem might have.
By permanently ‘plugging in’ these vulnerabilities, you can stop worrying about the many threats that can target your business. You can also stop worrying about the exploits hackers can use as there be no more vulnerabilities to exploit.
Most of the email vulnerabilities stem from the lack of a proper protocol everyone in your company should adhere to. Other vulnerabilities are in the software. Most of them are in your employees.
How to protect your business from email threats
One of the many vulnerabilities stems from weak passwords. You need to make sure everyone in the company has a strong and secure password for their email accounts, which is the basis of any decent email protection. Additionally, you need to start using multi-factor authentication for better security.
We mentioned the proper protocol in the previous section. This protocol must include a raised awareness among your employees and executives. Everyone needs to be careful with the emails they receive by checking the sender, and making sure the entire email is legitimate. If anything seems off, it’s best to avoid the email. Many businesses fall prey to a simple yet effective email threat like spear phishing.
In the end, your company needs to use advanced email security software that will protect them from all the existing and any new email threats that are continually appearing. By making sure everyone follows the protocols, and you have the latest software for protection, you are bound to be completely safe.