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VG Tuesday Tips: Securing Email in the Age of Ransomware and Phishing Attacks

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Email security has become a big concern for organizations, thanks to phishing campaigns that deliver ransomware. Recently, there has been no shortage of notable cyber attacks. The Google Docs attack, Docusign phishing attack, Gannet phishing attack, and Jaff ransomware and its variants were all delivered through phishing emails. Most recently, the WannaCry ransomware attack was spread through an SMB vulnerability.

According to a survey by the SANS institute, spear-phishing and whaling attacks are increasing dramatically. Spear phishing was identified as the second most significant type of attack (ransomware takes the honors for the top spot). In the case of spear phishing attacks, cyber criminals are carrying out extensive social engineering activities to gather personal information and craft messages that appear from trusted sources to gain the victim’s confidence.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to accurately detect all bad emails, especially those containing attachments, without slowing down email to such an extent that it impacts employee productivity. In many cases, critical business communications need to be delivered promptly, without any delay or being lost in junk or spam folders. In addition, traditional signature-based technologies are proving to be ineffective in stopping phishing emails that contain malicious payloads such as zero-day/unknown malware and ransomware.

In today’s landscape, an effective email security solution should:

- Align with and complement your network security solutions

- Integrate with network sandboxing to scan all you SMTP traffic and email attachments

- Provide granular administrative control over settings and must be able to set policies such as “Tag a subject line” or “Strip email attachment” in cases where communication is of the utmost importance

- Feature anti-spoofing authentication mechanisms such as DKIM, SPF and DMARC, to protect against impostor emails

- Offer encryption and data leakage prevention (DLP) capabilities for outbound protection

Email is the top attack vector, and most cyber attacks typically start with a phishing or spear phishing attack. Almost every organization has deployed some sort of email security solution. However, the threat landscape is constantly evolving and today’s advanced threats are designed to bypass traditional security techniques. Now is the right time to evaluate the currently deployed solution and analyze gaps in your security posture. To reduce risk exposure, email security must use a multi-layered approach.

Original Post from SonicWALL.

SonicWALL offers both email security appliances and software solutions including:

- Email Security Virtual Appliance

- Email Security Software

- Hosted Email Security (cloud-based protection)