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3 ways to blow up the chances of email spam in Office 365

Paul Weeden

Written by Paul Weeden

Founder & Managing Director at Foration. IT and technology fixer.

[fa icon="clock-o"] 16 November 2016 [fa icon="user"] Paul Weeden [fa icon="folder-open'] email security, email fraud, spam, Office 365, Cybersecurity

Email is a point of vulnerability for an IT network.  A primary method for attacking. Phishing and spear-phishing messages designed to catch the user off-guard and deliver routes into the system for hackers, malicious files, and ransomware. All designed to create havoc, harm and untold cost to your organisation.

It's a threat that’s on the rise. And a threat that Office 365 users need to take seriously.

For while Office 365 has security measures in place to combat spam and phishing emails, they’re not nearly enough. Email attacks are growing ever more sophisticated and subtle, requiring equally sophisticated and adaptive software to combat.

Here's a few additional measures you can take to reduce the threat from spam and phishing attacking your account.

Cloud-Based Zero Day Protection

Zero-day threats are small gaps in your email security software, areas of vulnerability that can arise due to ever changing threats.

Typically, these ‘holes’ are repaired through the distribution of a patch from the vendor, which users then upload to maintain security levels. The problem, of course, is that there is generally a time-lag which can leave your network exposed.

It’s an area of significant concern for users, with systems left vulnerable to these zero-day threats. This was highlighted in particular by the Cerber Ransomware attack on Office 365 email users in the first part of 2016. Exploiting weak-spots in the in-built anti-spam defences, this especially damaging malware was estimated to have been clicked by at least one user in upwards of 57% of corporate 365 accounts.

Adopting a cloud-based solution ensures that the system undergoes scanning in real-time, with software adapting to new threats as they emerge. Such measures, when incorporated into a multi-layered defence, offers a more robust protection for your Office 365 account, across all users.  

The Spear-Phishing Threat

Spear-phishing is a subtle and particularly troublesome threat against email security. Where traditional phishing emails will take the form of messages from supposedly official sources – emails with your bank’s brand logo being a common example – spear-phishing will typically take the form of the type of email you might commonly find in a works inbox. Maybe a personal message from someone purporting to be a client or supplier, or a message with a ‘delivery note’ or invoice attached.

Emails, in other words, that look non-descript and alike to others you’ll routinely receive.

Secure email gateways specifically designed to perform high-level scans on all incoming messages provides peace-of-mind as they can detect and quarantine suspicious addresses as well as perform scans on any attachments, flagging up those that possess malicious files.

Email Validation

Knowing that an email has come from an authentic source is a vital barrier in the protection against spam, phishing and all other malicious email breaches.

Employing security software that can be easily administered and able to detect those emails that come from a legitimate source, supporting validation services such as Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) for example, while blocking those that come from unidentified or known suspicious sources, can ensure that you can receive the data you need, in a safe, protected environment.

Summary

There are innumerable beneficial reasons for moving your network onto the Office 365 system; from productivity benefits, communication and remote working access. However, relying solely on its in-house security measures is a major risk, with recent email-targeted attacks highlighting vulnerability.

A specialised, multi-faceted security system, with real-time scanning and intuitive anti-phishing software, offers a robust protection against spam and spear-phishing attacks, affording you greater peace of mind and faith that your emails are operating within a safe environment.

Email Security Diagnostic from Foration

Paul Weeden

Written by Paul Weeden

Founder & Managing Director at Foration. IT and technology fixer.

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