Click with Caution: How Emails Can Open Doors for Cybercriminals

Have you ever clicked on an email link without a second thought? Most of us do it daily. Yet, what seems like a harmless action can open the door to cybercriminals. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a massive 90% of cyber attacks start just like this—with an email. It’s a straightforward fact but one that highlights a major vulnerability in our everyday habits. Let’s break down why emails are so risky and how you can tighten up your defenses to keep your business safe.

Think phishing is just a tech term? Think again. It’s actually one of the most common tricks in the book for cyber thieves. They send emails that look like they’re from someone you trust—a bank, a familiar company, or even a colleague—to trick you into giving away sensitive information or downloading harmful software. These scams are not only common but are getting trickier to spot every day.

The consequences of clicking on a shady email can be severe. According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Report, the repercussions often stretch far beyond the immediate financial hit, potentially harming your company’s reputation and disrupting day-to-day operations. Imagine having to explain to your customers that their personal data was compromised over a simple email mistake. It’s not just about losing money—the trust you’ve built with your clients is on the line.

Another layer of email security best practice is starting with using the right tools. Encryption, spam filters, and threat detection systems can go a long way in keeping those dodgy emails at bay. At Clearsky IT, we help our clients pick the best tools from trusted vendors, making it easier to spot risks before they become real problems. There are plenty of free tools offering these solutions on the market but there is no substitute for a tool chosen by experts in cyber security (psst, that’s us!) that are effective and worth the cost.

Today, a strong password just isn’t enough. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a must in any business, of any size. It adds an extra layer of security, making it much tougher for hackers to break into your accounts. This is also something the National Institute of Standards and Technology strongly recommends because it keeps your defenses up around the clock.

So, what about your team? Their tech know-how can be your best defense or an open door. Regular training sessions to help everyone recognise phishing emails and practice safe email habits are crucial. It’s important for everyone, from the front desk to the corner office, to stay sharp on these issues.

As we check our emails on the go, our phones and tablets become just as vulnerable as our computers. Security steps like passcodes and biometric locks (like fingerprint or face recognition) are essential to keep your mobile devices safe. It’s also wise to look over your BYOD policy to make sure personal devices aren’t opening up new risks.

Monitoring your email for unusual activity, such as new payment requests, payment authorisations, and confirmation of senior stakeholders’ roles and responsibilites for example, is key to early detection. Tools like Microsoft 365 Suite help you watch for and react to suspicious emails quickly. Their proactive monitoring can drastically cut down on the chances of a harmful email slipping through. Talk to your IT service provider (or us, if you don’t have one) about configuring your system to get the most out of the licenses that you pay for.

One effective way to see how well your team can handle phishing is to test them with simulated phishing attacks. At Clearsky IT, our simulations are designed to pinpoint weak spots and help us create better training to strengthen your team’s responses to real-life threats.

Email is an invaluable business tool, but it also comes with significant risks. By understanding these risks and proactively setting up defenses, you can protect your business effectively. At Clearsky IT, we’re here to help you implement these strategies and ensure your communications are secure.

You might also find this helpful: Email Security and Support

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