Email has become the main way for employees to communicate with colleagues and often with customers too, but barely a week goes by without another news headline relating to a high-profile email hack or a leak of sensitive information.
This article looks at how to protect against email hacking in all its forms, from malicious software attachments to ‘phishing’ attacks and leaks of confidential client data.
Your first step is to install a firewall around your company network, which helps to prevent incoming attacks via open ports between your internal network and the public internet.
Sentinel is Comcare’s network-edge security package, scanning data as it comes via your internet router to your internal company network, and can filter out specific subject matter.
This helps to prevent malicious inbound emails from reaching the inbox of an unsuspecting employee, who might not be aware enough of IT security to realise they should not open a seemingly harmless attachment.
Likewise, it can block outgoing connections to websites if the subject matter looks suspicious, for example if it contains profanities or adult content that you would not expect to find on a website relevant to your business.
Together, these kinds of preparations can block some of the most likely sources of attacks not only in the form of email hacking, but in a variety of ways that might otherwise lead to malware installing on your computer hardware.
In addition to this, we can provide regular health checks – a kind of MOT for business IT networks – to ensure everything is still running as expected, with no signs of any infection or unauthorised access from outside your network.
There are also steps you can take to protect your own data, such as using email encryption to ensure any third-party hackers are unable to read your emails, even if they manage to obtain a copy by tapping into your network
Although this might sound like a fairly advanced step, the internet as a whole is moving towards protected connections – for example on websites that use the ‘https’ server protocol, often indicated by a padlock icon in your browser – and it’s likely to become the norm for email to be similarly secure.
Finally, invest some time into training your staff on any emerging threats, such as the recent increase in incidences of email hacking, so that they can look out for any unusual activity in their own inbox.
That could range from unsolicited attachments or subject lines marked as spam by your inbound email filters, to unread emails that appear as read in the inbox – a very simple but clear indication that the email may have been seen by someone for whom it was not intended.