Most Costly Email Security Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions

Cybersecurity threats constantly loom over us. Among them, none can be as dangerous and damaging as those related to email security. Whether you create a private email account or a business, these threats are ever-present. For example, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), 94% of all malware was delivered via email. 

Of course, malware isn’t the only email security threat. You also have to keep an eye on spam and phishing, unauthorized users and their unintentional acts, people with malicious intent, social engineering and more. 

All of these threats can cost you and your organization millions of dollars and euros. People (cyber-criminals) behind these don’t choose their victims based on size. They will go after an individual, as likely as they will go after a business if they see any benefit in it.

Unfortunately, despite so many negative examples, it seems that many are ignoring the danger, believing that it won’t happen to them. Sooner or later, they learn it the hard way. Don’t be among them. 

What Do You Need to Know About Email Security Threats and How They Can Cost You $s?

When people think (which they should do more often) about email security threats, they usually think of either malware or spam and phishing. But those are just a few threats that can come to your inbox as we said. 

It’s important to understand these threats and how the best secure email providers tackle them.

Malware, or “malicious software” includes viruses, ransomware, spyware, worms, Trojans and other types of unwanted software that cyber-attackers use to take control of the network, computer or email account. A successful malware attack allows the hacker to gain access to important information, like a password to your banking account, monitor your online activities, or other malicious actions.

Phishing is another email threat that can potentially cost you a large sum of money if you fall for it. Unlike malware, which you usually “get” when you download an attachment or click on a link containing malware (read how to send documents securely over the Internet here), hackers employing phishing don’t have to know how to code a virus or anything like it. 

Instead, they rely on the human naivete by impersonating a trusted entity, like the victim’s bank or HR department and requesting the user to provide some private and confidential information like their login credentials (username and password). Once the victim gives them this info, the scammers have full access to their account and can take money at will.

Early instances of spam can be traced back to the 1980s, but even today, 40 years later, spam accounts for nearly 50% of all emails sent (45%). On the surface, spam seems harmless and not something that will incur a financial cost, but the loss of productivity that comes from it says otherwise.

According to reports, spam costs businesses $20+ billion per year, while these break down to almost $2000 per employee. So that’s not something you should ignore.

Very often, the real threat is not on the outside, but on the inside. While you fortify against external threats (perhaps even using the best private email service), you also can’t neglect the internal threats.

Unintentional insider threats are just that, unintentional. But that doesn’t mean they are without consequences. In fact, a single careless employee can cost their company millions or more by responding to malicious emails by leaking important documents. 

On the other hand, the threat can be completely intentional. An angry ex-employee who still has access (to the database) can retaliate against you and your company and cause severe damages. 

What Can You Do Against These Threats?

When thinking about email security threats, most people are concerned about the money the hacker can directly steal from them. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Financial losses also come from a loss of confidential information, sensitive information coming into the wrong hands, business downtime, as well as reputational damage that inevitably comes.

All of these can directly or indirectly cost you and your business hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars. 

That’s why you need to be vigilant against these threats and first and foremost educate your employees (and yourself among them) about the different kinds of email threats and the best practices to avoid them. 

Make sure that they know how to recognize a potential malware or a phishing scam email and how to deal with them (not downloading potentially malicious attachments from an unknown source and not giving up sensitive information to untrusted entities come to mind).

On the individual level, email security starts with a strong password (backed by two-factor authentication, or 2FA). Creating a password that won’t be easy to break by brute force is paramount to keeping your account secure. In other words, no more “QWERTY” passwords.

Above that, every organization, be it a small business, or a large corporation, should invest in IT security, including anti-virus and anti-phishing software to protect themselves, their employees and their clients from any malicious attacks. 

This also includes a secure email gateway or an email security gateway solution. When paired with the best secure email app containing email encryption, this can detect any outgoing messages that contain sensitive information and encrypts them, thus preventing criminals from getting access.

But no matter how you or your employees are careful, there’s always a chance of something slipping through your defenses. This is why you should sign up for the best private email service in CTemplar which will keep your inbox safe from prying eyes, phishing and other email security threats.