Take These 6 Precautions Now to Avoid Headaches Later

Did you know that 9 in 10 cyberattacks start with a phishing email? Email is the most likely vector for employees to come into contact with a cyber threat, and every business is inundated with email daily. It’s critical that businesses do everything that they can to reduce their risk of an email-based cyberattack landing. Most of today’s most damaging and dangerous cyber threats like ransomware and business email compromise (BEC) are primarily email-based attacks. These six tips can help keep businesses out of trouble.

6 Tips for Avoiding Email-Based Cyberattacks

These six preventative measures can help companies avoid email-based cyberattacks.

Remind employees to avoid clicking on untrustworthy links 

No one should ever click on unexpected or unusual links in an email message no matter who the sender is. Instead, encourage safe email handling behavior like hovering over the link to see the underlying URL of the link to help determine its legitimacy. Clicking on a malicious link often takes the victim to a malicious login page that bad actors use to steal the victim’s credentials. Sometimes, malicious links can also lead to malware downloads and other bad outcomes.

Never disclose sensitive information without verifying the request’s legitimacy 

Make sure that everyone in the organization from the interns to the CEO knows that they should never reply to an email from an untrusted source requesting personal information, sensitive company data or money without verifying its validity, no matter how little information the sender asks for. Invoice scams, in which bad actors pretend to be a service provider owed money, are the most common type of email scam. A simple misjudgment could be enough to jeopardize the organization’s defenses and cost a fortune.

Reinforce the message: Don’t open suspicious email attachments 

Always ensure that an email is trustworthy and check for red flags before opening an attachment. Opening an infected attachment can cause a cascade of bad effects like deploying ransomware. Avoid opening unexpected attachments that prompt the recipient to run macros to view them. Enabling a malicious macro can give bad actors control of that computer.

Maintain a regular security awareness training program 

Anyone in the company could be targeted in a phishing scam. To ensure that everyone is on their toes, conduct regular security awareness training for everyone from interns to the CEO. Include quizzes in the training so that you can easily determine who needs more help and may be a security risk. Trained users are 30% less likely to click on a phishing link.

Keep all systems up to date

An unpatched software program or operating system is highly vulnerable to a cyberattack. Bad actors love to exploit vulnerabilities, and a zero-day vulnerability can pop up at any time. Ransomware gang Cl0p recently went on a cyberattack spree that snagged more than 100 victims after discovering a zero-day vulnerability. Regularly update all programs and operating systems to benefit from the latest security patches.

Conduct phishing simulations

Train employees to spot and avoid phishing hazards with regular phishing simulations. Even better, customize the content of these simulations to reflect the unique threats that employees face daily. Although security awareness training doesn’t work overnight, it makes steady progress that holds up over time reducing a company’s phishing risk from 60% to 10% within the first 12 months.

Solutions that can help keep email-based attacks at bay

While precautionary measures help improve cyber hygiene, some sophisticated attacks still sneak past an organization’s cyber defenses. Organizations can take their phishing defense to the next level with the following solutions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

AI tools analyze emails in real-time and look for anomalies and warning signs throughout the email, from the metadata to the message content. Using machine learning algorithms, AI-based systems recognize communication patterns and flag any unusual behavior. While employees may fall for social engineering traps, these lures are totally ineffective against AI-based systems. 42% of companies in a cyber resilience survey cited the use of AI technology and security automation as a major factor in their success at improving their cybersecurity posture.


Automation systems are a critical asset for cybersecurity teams. These solutions help reduce the response time to seconds, compared to hours or days with traditional security solutions. A fully automated threat detection and response solution empowers cybersecurity teams to quickly compile a list of alerts and streamline threat mitigation efforts into a repeatable workflow. Automated security catches an estimated 40% more threats than conventional security.

Security awareness training 

No matter how hard an organization’s IT platform is, it is only as secure as its user base. In a survey, 45% of employees admitted to opening emails they considered to be suspicious, making them the biggest security liability to their organization. However, with security awareness training, employees can easily detect and report phishing emails and become cyber warriors for their organizations.

Identity and access management (IAM) 

IAM solutions are the core of cybersecurity for organizations of all sizes. Many IAM solutions provide a single sign-on launchpad that enables users to securely authenticate with multiple applications and websites by using just one set of credentials. Also, multifactor authentication (MFA) in IAM solutions enhances an organization’s defense by requiring users to identify themselves with more than a username and password. This protects organizations against unauthorized access even if user credentials like usernames and passwords are compromised.

Security operations center (SOC) 

With the increased sophistication and frequency of phishing attacks, organizations need 24/7 monitoring of their critical attack vectors. Even a single vulnerability can give cybercriminals ample opportunities to launch an attack. SOCs employ a team of experts who continually monitor an organization’s systems and networks using innovative tools to detect and eliminate an attack before it can harm the organization.

Consult with one of our Solutions Specialists to learn more about the protection services we can provide.