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How to Identify Corporate Email Spoofing and Keep Yourself Safe from a Cyberattack

Email spoofing refers to fraudulent emails sent to different targets during a phishing attack. The primary objective of this tactic is to convince the receiver that the email is from a trusted source. Hackers attempt to forge an email to imitate an address the reader is familiar with. It’s a primary tool used in many cyberattacks, including spear-phishing, CEO fraud, spamming, and vendor email compromise (VEC). Protecting your company against email spoofing is crucial to your organization’s security. Here are the ways you can avoid email spoofing.

Rejecting unknown files

The primary elements involved with spoof emails are the content involved. If you’re a big fan of football, for example, a direct message from Arsenal might persuade you to respond to any correspondence. Most files feature a potentially curious subject designed to encourage users to click on a link. In some cases, the header might represent a familiar address, so it’s crucial to develop an address list that can’t be hacked. This is how most BEC attacks happen, which damage company reputation, rob them of crucial data, and extort money.

Any emails that aren’t categorized according to corporate sources should be flagged as dangerous. Some hackers rely on the curious attribute of individuals when dealing with actual reactions. A majority of spoof emails involve specific details regarding the sender. If you can’t identify the source of the request concerned, there’s a likely case a spoof email is involved. Focusing on cataloged addresses can ensure you avoid repeated spoofing. 

Phishing tests

Organizations can also sponsor frequent phishing tests to ensure their employees are attentive to potential red flags. These tests are designed to gauge the employees’ knowledge of potential scamming messages. A spoof email is recreated by the organization and sent to its employees to gauge their reaction. However, hackers are continually changing their tactics, so these tests should be regularly updated. 

The whole point of phishing tests is to determine how to gauge the employees’ knowledge of potential scamming messages. A spoof email is recreated by the organization and sent to its employees to gauge their reaction. However, hackers are continually changing their tactics, so these tests should be regularly updated. You can develop personal phishing tests or adopt an organizational strategy customized to your requirements. 

Promoting general cyber awareness

Hackers have grown increasingly savvy in their presentation, and the usual mistakes such as grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are rare nowadays. Many spoof emails are identical to the content that employees relate with easily, which increases the risk of them falling prey to online scams. The first step in preventing email spoofing is through raising awareness. Highlighting the risks involved, including when hackers steal loyalty benefits, credit card information, or social security numbers, is a good way to catch the audience’s attention. 

Considering the particulars involved with email spoofing, ensuring employees are aware of such risks is crucial to an organization’s survival. Most spoof emails take the form of recognizable organizations related to your company. The only way to avoid this misdirection is through promoting verification processes that can identify potential spoof emails. It’s essential for employers to be aware of the risks involved regarding cyberattacks. 

Remaining offline when not necessary

The primary means of hackers gaining access to sensitive material is because of the virtual presence of the victims, especially when they are surfing the internet for any other purpose than work. For example, if employees surf social media accounts from their official computers, they are likely to spend a lot of time on it and interacting with unknown people (it’s common for them to be hackers), accepting their invites and finally, falling prey to them.

Offline spoofing happens a lot, but in terms of percentage, it’s far too less than online spoofing, and the risk of data being stolen is very less as the hackers mostly target money from wallets. Surfing the internet or using social media should be restricted and employees must be sensitized about the importance of using their personal computers and gadgets instead of official ones. If, for some reason, they use official computers for personal use, they must log out from official accounts and go offline completely from all work tools, email accounts, etc.

General security frameworks

Since the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) can’t authenticate incoming messages, email providers have developed several frameworks designed to detect potential spoof messages and alert the receiver. Although these methods aren’t foolproof, they serve as a barrier against general spam messages and low-level phishing attacks. They include the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which determines whether an IP address has the authority to send a message from its given domain. 

The Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) framework uses cryptographic keys to validate incoming messages and sign off outgoing mail. Some hackers manage to circumvent this authentication by forwarding a message without tainting the signature’s validity. This is because DKIM is designed to only sign specific parts of a message. That means other sections can be tampered with while leaving the signed pieces intact. Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a framework designed to inform the user whether an email has SPF or DKIM authentication. 

Avoiding email spoofing

Apart from the primary three authentication frameworks (which are free to all), organizations can take additional measures to defend their company against spoofing. Enhancing the level of security can be accomplished by subscribing to a dedicated email security platform. There are a variety of alternatives available in this sector, and opting for established candidates enhances your chances of finding effective solutions. Any security software you install should feature regular updates to deal with the constantly changing tactics of hackers. 

Organizations whose operations are based on sensitive information should schedule regular backups and security scans for any essential data. Those backups should be tested to ensure they still function before storing any new content. Introducing password policies can also make it harder to hack company accounts. These policies can dictate elements such as expiry periods, length and format of potential passwords, and the application of special characters.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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