Why Email Security is So Important in the Age of Phishing Attacks

Posted by Stephen Ferrell
Stephen Ferrell

When we think of cybersecurity, our minds often wander to hacks, viruses, stolen identities, data breaches etc. but did you know that much of this criminal activity starts with malicious email?

Even with more awareness than at any time in our past, phishing attacks continue to challenge email security both at home and at the workplace.

One of the core challenges that we see our customers dealing with is discerning true email security and anti-phishing technology from a pack of well-marketed spam filters.

History of Phishing

To understand email security, you must first understand phishing. Phishing emerged as a force for bad in the mid-nineties.

Nigerian Princes deprived of their fortunes would reach out randomly to upstanding US citizens promising them wealth and fortune, worse still were malware attacks like the Swedish teenage sensation Netbus made their way around the nascent inboxes on an unprepared public. Yes, it was a glorious time. To combat these early criminalized emails and Spam and malware filters were created.

Limitations of Email Security Tools & Filters

Current email security tools, spam filters have a limited scope of application. Spam filters are highly useful at catching large, generic, phishing attempts, the type of emails that arrive in your inbox and attempt to sell you a product that might enhance your life in some way.

This type of filter is not effective as an email security tool when a phishing attempt is targeted and disguised in such a way that it does not appear to be a mass mailing but rather a directed personal message.

Unfortunately, while phishing attacks have evolved significantly since the mid-90s, spam filters are primarily the same, relying on Bayesian and statistical methods to pull out only the most apparent phish. Spam filters are ill-prepared for the phishing attacks that deprive Americans of billions of dollars each year.

Often coupled with spam filters are Malware filters. Malware filters are used to siphon off suspect files that often contain viruses, Trojan horses, or other nasty programs intended to infect or, as is the case more and more, often take over your PC or device.

While malware is a nuisance as it relates to phishing, malware filters are similarly limited in that if a file is not attached, they cannot discern whether the text of the message is fraudulent or who the sender really is.

Even when coupled with a stamp spam filter, this combination is not effective as a phishing repellent as it relates to email security.

Why Phishing Simulators Also Don’t Work

Another approach typical to the email security fight is the use of phishing simulators. The simulators are designed to provide an email user with an experience like a phishing attack. The goal of a simulated fishing attack is to discern how many users in an email community are susceptible to clicking on emails that are likely fraudulent. Phishing simulation is often performed by a corporate IT department and has a metric that is tracked and used to determine whether fishing awareness training is being successfully administered to the user community. 

However, when we consider potential employee morale impact on such exercises, and the reality that many phishing attacks are heavily targeted, you understand it almost makes simulation a moot point. Phishing simulators simply don’t work consistently.

What You Should Do to Keep Your Organization Safe

Given these limitations, it is necessary then to consider tools that provide true fishing protection and email security.

At INKY, we have developed this tool. Phish fence Is a revolutionary solution that offers a peerless next-generation phishing prevention mechanism that secures email by employing computer vision, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. A trifecta that makes phishing almost entirely obsolete.

An Inky protected user has a vastly different interaction experience with his or her messages than those who remain unprotected. Every email filtered through Phish fence arrives with a color-coded informational banner.

Each color-coded anti-phishing alert banner has an explanation as to either the safety of the email, a cautionary note, or a definitive rushing attack. INKY creates a culture of awareness; able to simultaneously train your email user community and prevent real-time fishing attacks.

Our email security tests have proven time and time again that email that safely makes it through malware and spam filters are caught correctly as Phish in INKY's Phish Fence application.

If you're looking for real phishing protection, INKY can be fully operational, protecting your email system sometimes in less than an hour. You can no longer rely on legacy technologies designed for 1990's attacks.

Modern fishing attacks pass far too easily through the malware and spam filters and they are designed specifically to trick even the most highly trained email user into believing that they are legitimate.

Today's email fraudsters use sophisticated techniques often farmed from social media, from newspapers, and from company press releases combined with iconography and graphics to create a compelling message but ultimately ends in a successful attack.

Each year email security breaches from phishing cost the US and global companies billions of dollars even though malware spam filtering and simulation are widely in use.

There is a better way. Set up your free demo of Inky’s Phish Fence which will work in concert with your existing email security platform.

It's time for a change. It is time for INKY.

Topics: email security