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5 Tips on Recognizing and Avoiding Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is ramping up in frequency as the pandemic forces individuals and organizations to rely on the web for business continuity. An Info Security report shows a whopping 667% increase in phishing emails from February to March of 2020. This can be attributed to phishers’ evolving techniques to trick users into downloading malware on their devices and handing over their login information. 

While the goal remains the same, spoofing’s primary targets and the methods of bypassing filters are getting more advanced. Thus, leaving individuals and organizations more vulnerable to attacks, reputation damage, and financial losses. Security Boulevard reveals that a single spoofing attack can result in an average loss of over $1.6 million, considering that users open 30% of these emails. 

Business leaders need to be agile in spotting innovative spoofing techniques to protect valuable information and ensure compliance. Recognizing phishing attacks and spoof emails allows organizations to assess the risks involved and create better plans to respond from a strategic standpoint. This article will look at five simple yet essential tips that every organization should consider for robust email spoofing protection.

1. Conduct Awareness Training Against Email Spoofing

Although there are various ways to avoid email spoofing, awareness and education remain the most effective weapons to prevent attacks from materializing. Security Boulevard adds that only 3% of individuals report spoofed emails to upper management due to lack of knowledge. By doing so, businesses can ensure that their workforce is aware of phishing attacks and know what a spoofed email looks like.

It also empowers employees to respond and report potential spoofed emails to your internal security teams. This way, your IT team can immediately take the appropriate action and establish a feedback loop to enhance the email filter, alert other departments, and stabilize the threat to a greater extent. An excellent way to kick-off your awareness training is with simulated attacks to determine how employees respond to specific situations.

This allows your internal security teams to find potential areas for improvement and provide tips to reinforce learning. Running simulations regularly is vital in modifying your email security strategies to remain effective against evolving threats. You should also ensure that exercises are fun and inclusive to keep everyone involved and build awareness across your organization. 

2. Examine Message Content

Sometimes the most excellent defense against email spoofing is knowing whether the message is authentic. You can find telltale signs of spoofed emails by examining the message content, particularly the header section. The header shows  important tracking data like where the email came from and where it was routed to you. 

A rule of thumb is to ensure that the “from” email address component directly matches the display name. The challenge with spoofed emails is that it seems legitimate at first glance, resulting in most business employees to fall prey. However, an in-depth look at these email headers will reveal that the email address connected with the display name is oddly enough coming from someone else. 

Mobile users often fall victim because, although the sender’s name is always visible, the email address is usually hidden. The Wall Street Journal reports that remote workers are more susceptible to email spoofing on mobile because of the app design and user distraction. 

That being said, you should ensure that employees only communicate with your organization through a dedicated remote work software platform to avoid vulnerabilities.

email authentication

3. Leverage Email Signing Certificates

As the workforce is distributed into different locations, organizations need to ensure business communications’ security to avoid attacks. Organizations need to use email signing certificates on outgoing emails to help recipients verify whether an email is coming from your organization. Signing certificates empowers you to add unique digital signatures to your emails to assert identity.

This allows employees to immediately recognize spoofed emails and avoid clicking or downloading any unauthorized documents. Email signing certificates also enable you to encrypt your emails using public keys to ensure that only the intended recipient can view the message’s content. 

This way, you can ensure that emails sent from and to your server are protected. Email signing certificates are also vital in building trust and confidence among your customer base. By asserting your identity, customers are more likely to click and engage with your emails, ultimately increasing sales. 

4. Take Advantage of Email Provider Warnings

Requiring employees to pay attention to email provider warnings is another effective way on how to prevent email spoofing attacks. Mail servers typically examine whether incoming emails have failed authentication processes like DMARC, SPF, and DKIM. 

When the servers detect that the email has failed authentication, providers immediately send out warnings to users. This assists users in determining potential malicious messages and puts fear into them taking another action. 

5. Use DMARC Authentication

Implementing DMARC is another solution for email spoofing. The advantage of DMARC is that it can generate valuable data which will provide you with all that you need to gain a complete understanding of your domain. This allows you to create a comprehensive inventory of your email senders, including unknown, malicious, and legitimate. 

By doing so, organizations can develop an allow list and configure authentication records to ensure that only legitimate emails reach their inboxes. DMARC also provides concrete measures against having your message headers stolen by collaborating with SPF and DKIM. 

Online threat actors usually spoof the internet domains linked with legitimate email entities to make their messages authentic and seem like they originated from trusted sources’ email accounts. However, with DMARC, organizations can make it more challenging for an email to pass an authentication process since related indicators need to align with SPF and DKIM frameworks before the message is visible to the receiver. 

This ensures that cybercriminals will be blocked from sending fraudulent emails on your organization’s domain behalf, which will protect your brand trust, etc.

Stop Email Spoofing Right Now

Knowing how to stop email spoofing can be tricky, with techniques becoming more sophisticated than ever. So, organizations must put their pedal to the metal when adopting innovative solutions to keep up with the evolving threat landscape. They can do that by utilizing powerful software platforms like EasyDMARC which help users check SPF records comprehensively.

EasyDMARC is a dynamic email security solution that empowers organizations to secure email accounts and avoid data leakages. It also boasts easy-to-use tools that let you protect your email domain from the most complex phishing and spoofing attacks. EasyDMARC has a free forever plan, but users wanting to expand the software’s functionality should opt for the Plus, Premium, and Business packages.
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