Email Security: What’s the Biggest Problem in 2019?

Email continues to be the main channel for business communication, even in the era of highly-elaborated, productivity-promising apps.

Platforms as Slack, Asana, and Trello, products that are deeply-engineered to optimize collaboration among teammates and clients, have been unable to fully replace email at the workplace. This says plenty about the relevance of the primal channel of Internet communications.

Email is agile, easy to use, and quite accessible on a technical level. However, this simplicity is contributing to a serious problem by itself.

The Main Channel for Crimes

According to the FBI, email is used as the medium for 48 percent of all Internet financial crimes, mostly by implementing phishing techniques.

Considering email’s reach and penetration, not only in our society in general but in corporative environments, we can understand that almost every single person with significant usage of Internet is dangerously exposed to malicious attacks.

Of course, companies are an especially appealing target for such criminals. Confidential information and valuable corporate resources as intellectual property are often the aim for hackers. In times when we are constantly hearing about industrial espionage, this topic cannot be more relevant.

Relying on Basic Tactics

With the current state of affairs, email security is mostly a matter of psychology.

Surprisingly for many, malicious agents continue to rely on quite basic tactics to steal sensitive data. Phishing and its many modern forms are techniques that are based on psychology and they achieve results when users don’t pay enough attention to catch the red flags.

An average email user could be capable of avoiding a successful attack by paying attention to messages received in their inboxes. Tactics as spear phishing or CEO fraud are all part of a single category of cyber attacks that attempt to trick the user, pretending to be someone else and obtaining sensitive data that way.

Improving, Not Replacing

There are modern services that sell themselves as the ideal replacement for email by highlighting their own security-related strengths. Some professionals even attack email, arguing that it’s an outdated way to communicate nowadays.

Nonetheless, it continues to be extremely relevant and not having an email address put you outside of the information stream of the Internet. Now, considering where we are, the ideal approach would be to improve our cybersecurity practices to prevent the rise of crimes that occur on this channel.

Email users who aren’t dedicated to or familiar with cybersecurity matters are dramatically less aware of the problem, constantly ignoring potential attacks even when these are at their own inboxes.

There is a false perception of email security. Ironically this continues to occur when there is plenty of information available about the threats.

But the problem goes beyond. SEGs (Secure Email Gateway) are no longer a suitable security measure to protect email users, not in the cloud era. This binary method isn’t appropriate for today’s complex structures of communication, especially in business.

Modern, more capable email security methods aren’t being implemented by companies at the same pace as cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated and, why not, more aggressive in their activities.

Yet, in the end, the biggest problem today is not paying enough attention. A considerable share of email users is abnormally unaware of what is going on at their inboxes. This is an issue that is only approachable by education about the subject and better habits.