Every day, around 4.37 billion emails around the world are being sent as of 2023, according to Demand Sage. Mailing services became an everyday medium for exchanging announcements, documents, newsletters, and other digital content. However, some malicious parties take advantage of email exchanges and use them to distribute their cyberattacks through phishing emails. This article delves into the definition of phishing emails and details why it’s one of the greatest online threats you need to know about.
phishing attacks were reported in 2022.
According to Forbes, over 500 million phishing attacks were reported in 2022, making phishing one of the most popular methods for cybercriminals to distribute their malicious attacks. Continue reading to learn what phishing emails are, and how highly regulated organisations can mitigate them using e-Boks’ digital postbox solution.
Understanding Phishing Emails: What They are and Why They're Dangerous
This section details what phishing emails are and why they’re one of the most prominent online dangers for business using different mailing services such as Gmail, Outlook, and others.
What are Phishing Emails?
Phishing emails are deceptive messages that cybercriminals send with the intention of tricking recipients into revealing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card information, or other personal data.
These emails are often formatted to mimic the appearance and tone of legitimate communications from reputable organisations such as banks, government agencies, or well-known companies to gain the trust of the recipient. They create a sense of urgency or fear, prompting the recipient to take immediate action. When the user clicks on a malicious link, they are redirected to a website that looks like a legitimate website to provide their login credentials or payment information.
Phishing emails are a common tactic in online scams and are considered a significant threat in the realm of cyber security.
Why are Phishing Emails Dangerous?
Phishing emails pose a significant danger because they can lead to severe consequences for both individuals and organisations. Falling victim to a phishing scam can result in various detrimental outcomes:
- Financial loss through unauthorised transactions.
- Identity theft by misusing personal data.
- Data breaches, leading to sensitive information leaks.
- Reputational damage and trust erosion for businesses.
- Compliance violations in regulated industries.
As the number of cyber threats grows exponentially throughout the years, it’s important to emphasise continuous education on cyber security best practices. Highly regulated industries should invest in robust security measures, employee training, and incident response plans to mitigate the risks of phishing scams.
Spotting Phishing Emails: Identifying the Signs
Business owners that are not savvy may face difficulties recognizing a potential phishing scam attempt. Below we’ll discuss ways to identify the scams of phishing in email and text messages.
Common red flags to watch out for in phishing emails
Phishing emails often contain several red flags that organisations and their teams should be alert about. Recognizing these signs can help reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing scams. It’s crucial to remain vigilant and sceptical, especially when an email asks for confidential information, prompts for immediate action, or just seems out of the ordinary:
- Suspicious Sender Addresses: Phishing emails usually come from addresses that look similar to legitimate ones, with a few subtle differences like misspellings, or incorrect domain names.
- Generic Greetings: Typical examples of phishing emails start with “Dear”, “Dear Customer” or “Dear User,” instead of addressing the recipient by name, as most legitimate organisations do.
- Urgent Calls to Action (CTAs): Phishing emails usually contain a sense of urgency in their wording. This might involve statements that urge immediate action to verify an account, secure compromised information, or claim a prize.
- Suspicious Attachments: Attachments in phishing emails can contain malware and viruses. Legitimate organisations typically don’t send unsolicited attachments. Employees should be cautious about attachments with a .exe extension.
Types of Phishing Emails: A Diverse Landscape of Deception
Phishing emails can come in different forms. These types have a unique method of deception, which is why we detailed them:
- Spear Phishing: Personalised messages that seem relevant to the recipient, often using information gathered from social media or other sources to appear more relevant or credible.
- Whaling: A specialised form of spear phishing that targets high-profile individuals like CEOs, CFOs, and other prominent executives in an organisation. This method uses sophisticated and customised techniques to trick the “big fish” into revealing sensitive information.
- Clone Phishing: Creating a nearly identical replica of a legitimate email the recipient has previously received, but with malicious links or attachments.
- Smishing: Smishing uses text messages to lure victims into revealing sensitive information, including a link to a fraudulent website.
- Pharming: Redirecting users from legitimate websites to fraudulent ones, by exploiting vulnerabilities in DNS servers, making a more sophisticated form of phishing.
Product Director at e-Boks
“The e-Boks platform employs edge-to-edge encryption and integrates the most current security technologies and practices. This creates a trusted ecosystem, free from spam viruses and phishing attempts. Senders can trust that their documents will reach only the intended recipients, maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of every exchange.”
e-mails sent around the world every day, a lucrative target for phishing attempts.
Protecting Your Organisations from Phishing Attacks: Essential Strategies
In the digital era where email security can easily be compromised through phishing attacks, CCM service providers should invest in assets that can mitigate the risks of phishing attacks.
Tips to identify and avoid phishing emails
Depending on the size of an organisation, providing protection from phishing attacks can be challenging. It requires a combination of vigilance, knowledge and the use of appropriate tools. Here’s how regulated organisations can take measurements to mitigate the risks of phishing:
- Validate Email Sender Authenticity: Encourage teams to meticulously verify sender email addresses to ensure they align with known and trusted corporate domains.
- Identify Generic Greetings in Communications: Alert employees to be sceptical of emails with non-specific greetings. Unlike phishing attempts, authentic corporate communications are usually personalised.
- Evaluate Urgency Claims in Email Content: Train staff to critically assess emails that purport urgent action. Phishing attempts often use this tactic to bypass rational evaluation.
- Exercise Caution with Links and Attachments: Implement policies to avoid engaging with unexpected links or attachments in emails, which could be phishing traps.
- Implement Anti-Phishing Toolbars: Integrate anti-phishing toolbars into corporate browsers. These toolbars perform rapid checks against databases of known phishing sites, offering an additional layer of protection.
- Maintain Browser Security Through Regular Updates: Emphasise the importance of keeping all corporate browsers up-to-date to leverage the latest security patches against phishing threats.
- Deploy Robust Firewalls: Ensure that high-quality firewalls are in place to serve as a primary defence against external cyber threats, including phishing attacks.
- Educate About the Risks of Pop-Up Windows: Caution employees about interacting with pop-up windows, which are frequently employed in phishing schemes. Advising against clicking on pop-up links can significantly reduce risk.
The Role of e-Boks in Phishing Prevention and Cybersecurity
e-Boks’ CCM platform provides significant protection against phishing attacks. Its focus is on delivering a secure and fully encrypted platform for document storage and sharing. Some of the key features e-Boks offers in protection against phishing emails include:
- Encrypted Protocols: e-Boks utilises SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption protocol, which is the standard security technology integrated into modern browsers. The SSL encryption ensures that data on e-Boks platform remains secure and inaccessible to unauthorised entities.
- Access Control: Accessing e-Boks requires a national identity number for identification, which means more security. That way, unauthorised users can’t access sensitive information.
- Secure Storage: Documents within e-Boks are securely stored, ensuring that sensitive information is well-protected.
- Stance Against Encryption Backdoors: Clear policy against creating backdoors in the encryption software.
These features make it harder for phishing attacks to succeed, as they rely heavily on intercepting or mimicking legitimate communications and accessing sensitive information. With e-Boks' robust security measures, the likelihood of successful interception or unauthorised access is significantly reduced.
How e-Boks' CCM Solution Can Help Prevent Cyber Attacks Such as Phishing
e-Boks’ CCM software offers robust protection against cyber threats like phishing. That way, CCM service providers can provide reliable products and services to their clients.
e-Boks provides CCM service providers with robust tools to prevent phishing and other cyber attacks, ensuring the security of sensitive customer information and maintaining compliance in a highly digitalized and regulated environment.
Empowering CCM Service Providers with Phishing Resilience
With robust encryption and a modern security approach, e-Boks makes one of the most reliable CCM solutions for CCM service providers. Here’s how e-Boks contribute to added protection against phishing fraud.
Phishing attacks can access and misuse sensitive customer data, leading to breaches in confidentiality. Such incidents erode client trust in CCM service providers, damaging their reputation and reliability.
e-Boks provides a holistic approach to sharing documents online and integrating vital security features such as encryption, access controls, version tracking, and audit trails. This setup helps protect sensitive data against phishing attacks which often target communication channels to steal information.
- Encrypted Communication: Encryption protocols ensure that data like sensitive personal identifiers remains secure and inaccessible to third-party entities.
- Trust and Compliance: e-Boks is a trusted partner for CCM service providers, offering a platform designed for sending sensitive content in a 100% GDPR-compliant environment.
- Industry Trust: Highly regulated industries like banking, insurance, and government organisations rely on e-Boks for secure document management and communication. e-Boks collaborated with industry leaders like Cumulo9, Mastercard, BOKIS, and the Irish Government led by OGCIO.
Conclusion: Safeguarding the Future of Customer Communications
For CCM service providers aiding clients in regulated industries, it’s of utmost importance to combat phishing properly. Regulated industries should prioritise robust encryption, secure access controls, and trusted communication channels, all of which e-Boks provides within its CCM software. Contact e-Boks today to leverage an advanced data encryption and cybersecurity solutions for enhanced protection against phishing, as well as other threats.
- e-Boks has more than 20 years’ experience as a provider of digital infrastructure.
- We proudly provide the governments of Denmark, Norway, Greenland and Ireland with national digital post solutions
- Well renown international banks, insurance companies and energy service providers have preferred e-Boks as supplier and development partner instead of pursuing their own solutions.