Businesses are under constant threat from online scammers and opportunistic hackers. You may do every security patch upgrade, monitor your system 24/7, and ensure strong firewall mechanisms. But you click on one bad email link, or worse, somehow your password gets leaked, your entire system gets compromised, and you end up a victim of a security incident. A recent stat from the FBI says that business email imposter scams have cost about $2.3 billion from over 17000 victims. And there could be more unreported cases as well.
Here is a brief overview of these dangerous email scams and how you can protect yourself from falling victim.
What is a business email imposter scam?
Business email imposters are a scamming attempt to gain confidential data or user credentials with the help of emails that look and feel genuine. A scammer could set up an email that mirrors close to the organization’s email addresses and ask for any confidential information such as password, bank account details or even request to borrow money. These emails may target your partners, employees, and clients, leading to loss of money, reputation, and future business prospects.
These imposter emails do not carry the signature components of a phishing email and come off as seemingly genuine emails from within the company. They are highly successful compared to other forms of hacking attempts for these reasons:
- They look like legitimate emails from within the company with a proper email address and content
- They do not usually include any malware or malicious links
- They are not easily trackable by anti-spam tools as they are not sent in high volumes.
The absence of malware, links, and the low volume attack makes these emails difficult to block by regular anti-spam or anti-malware tools. More advanced analysis is required to detect and report an imposter email.
How to protect your business from business email imposters
The good news is that there are ways to protect your business from email posters. Here are a few of them:
Make use of an email authentication system
For starters, you must employ a good email analytical system to block out any imposter emails. One way to do this is to use email authentication systems that can check whether an incoming email is from your company’s email server. If not, the receiver can be set to block the email and ensure that attempt is foiled at the source.
You can also use dynamic email analysis systems to block out any imposter emails and ensure only genuine and authentic emails pass through and get to the receiver.
Update your security systems
Always ensure that your security systems are updated with the latest updates and security patches. Set it up for auto-updates and schedule routine checkups to see if any part of your software or hardware components needs to be updated.
Monitor your systems for intrusions
Set up automatic monitoring and reporting solutions so you can check your network at all times and get immediate reports on any suspicious activity.
Training and awareness
The imposter email could somehow slip through the cracks and reach a receiver. The best way to combat such cases is to prepare your stakeholders by making them aware of such imposter emails. Train your staff and anyone concerned with ways to avoid email phishing and educate them about mechanisms used by hackers to gain confidential data. Send out regular reminder emails and tips to spot spurious emails, cyber threats, and the need for strong password protection.
Make sure your security policies are communicated to your staff and ensure that they are followed properly.
Part of security training includes the action items that must be carried when someone spots an imposter email. Here are some actions that must be taken when you suspect an email spoofing.
Every hacking attempt, especially email spoofing, should be immediately reported to the local governing body. Report your findings regarding the hacking attempt to your cyber security branch and make a formal complaint. You can also forward suspected emails to the firstname.lastname@example.org to get support on the same
- Inform your customers and stakeholders
When you detect an email imposter, you must inform your customer and stakeholders of the same as soon as possible. This helps minimize the impact, gather more details as well as provide necessary information on what to do if a customer has been responding to an email imposter already. Make sure to send these notification emails without any link, so they come off as genuine and do not look like another phishing mail. You could also share this information via multiple channels such as social media, company forums, and more.
Remind your stakeholders of the importance of never sharing confidential information over email or text messages. Direct any affected consumers towards what can be done to recover their data and minimize the losses.
- Learn and improve
Take the experience as a valuable lesson and keep improving your security policies. Once you have dealt with a particular email imposter scam, ensure you archive your findings and learnings. Use the same to further train your employees and frame stronger security frameworks.
Security is a continuous effort. The evolving cyber landscape does not allow us to rest free with a new threat popping up every other day. You must be vigilant and aware of attacks such as business email imposter scams. These imposter emails are harder to detect and can be used to extract critical data from an unsuspecting victim. Hence why it’s of utmost importance that you keep updating your security systems with the latest email authentication systems and set up automated monitoring and reporting. And most importantly, train your staff and stakeholders on the need for a strong password and email protection. Keep optimizing your security frameworks to combat the ever-growing cyber threats.
Find and retain cybersecurity talent
Your resource for Bakersfield cybersecurity talent is Grapevine MSP, California’s Central Valley’s leading IT service for security-minded and forward-thinking businesses. If compliance, remote working, or cloud security concerns are stunting your business’s growth and recovery from the pandemic, we have the Microsoft 365 cloud tools that can revitalize your team with the productivity and security you need to help keep you safe from cyber attacks.
Contact us at 661-369-8427 or send us a message online. Let’s put technology back in your driver’s seat so that your business can compete, grow, and stay safe from cybercriminals.