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Phishing Threats – How to Identify and Avoid Targeted Email Attacks

Phishing threats have been around for years. By now anyone can easily detect a fake email, right?

Wrong. How confident are you that you wouldn’t divulge your password, credit card info or online identity? Here is a quick refresher on phishing threats and what you can do to protect yourself.

What is Phishing?

As you may already know, phishing threats involve malicious emails that attempt to get you to disclose your personably identifiable information (PII) to compromise your personal identity or corporate data.

Hackers create emails that look like official communications from familiar companies. These are sent to millions of unsuspecting addresses in hopes that someone will follow the links and share sensitive information that the hackers can exploit. These phishing emails employ a variety of techniques.

How to Spot Phishing Attacks

The best way to protect yourself from phishing threats is to recognize and avoid these common phishing tactics:

  • Generic greetings: The opening lines of phishing emails are often very vague and general in nature.
  • Typos or Poor Grammar: A poorly written email is less likely to have come from a legitimate company. In addition, do not be tricked if the email happens to include a legitimate-looking logo.
  • Urgency: Phishing emails often sound alarmist, trying to scare you into taking action (and sharing your information) immediately.
  • Fake Links: Phishing emails routinely obscure the URL addresses, and instead take you to an unsecured site where your sensitive data is solicited. To see exactly where a link will take you, simply hover over it. If in doubt, don’t click it. Instead, open a new browser session and manually enter the address (i.e., don’t copy and paste) you want to visit.
  • Attachments: Delivered via email attachments, malware that is executed (i.e., the attachment is opened) allows a hacker to exploit vulnerabilities on your computer Never open an attachment unless you are sure it is legitimate, safe and expected. Be cautious with any unexpected invoices from companies you’re not familiar with, as attachments might contain malware that installs upon opening.
  • Spoofed Sender: Makes it easier for a hacker to impersonate someone you’d normally trust (e.g., coworker, bank, government agency)

Take the Phishing IQ Test

Interested in seeing how well you are at telling the difference between a legitimate website and one that is a phishing attempt? Take the SonicWall Phishing IQ Test to find out.

7 Email Security Best Practices for Office 365 in the Cloud

Cloud applications are not quickly approaching — they’re here. As organizations strive to manage costs and resources, solutions that are affordable, scalable and functionally robust are most appealing. Cloud applications promise to deliver this and more. For these reasons, adoption is accelerating.

Microsoft is at the forefront of the cloud application wave. Their Office 365 service enables workplace collaboration with not only a core email application, but also many popular Microsoft Office apps.  However, Office 365’s potential for open exchange of information also makes it a prime target for hackers.

Migrating To Cloud Services While Ensuring Security

Well-informed organizations are keenly aware that modern emerging threats exploit email as the primary mechanism for delivering their payload, and thus are evaluating more leading-edge security solutions. Targeted, coordinated attacks, data leaks and email-borne threats (including ransomware, phishing and spam attacks) all threaten cloud-based email services, such as Office 365.

Although Office 365 does include some security measures, prudent organizations recognize the need to reinforce these elementary security controls. According to Gartner, “By 2018, 40% of Office 365 deployments will rely on third-party tools to fill gaps in security and compliance, which is a major increase from less than 10% in 2015.”

Furthermore, leading industry analysts, including Gartner and IDC, recommend reinforcing Office 365 by integrating third-party email security solutions that, at a minimum, provide the following essential components:

  1. Advanced threat protection: Most anti-virus solutions are signature-based, and therefore ineffective against advanced threats such as ransomware. A sandbox environment is required to detect and prevent ransomware and zero-day attacks before they even reach your network.
  2. Known threat protection: For effective security against attacks leveraging known malware, we recommend using multiple virus detection engines to scan email messages and attachments for viruses, Trojans, worms and other types of malicious content.
  3. Phishing protection: Phishing campaigns have emerged as the method of choice for delivering ransomware. Proper mitigation requires an email security solution that incorporates advanced analysis of an email’s subject, body and attachment by leveraging a sandbox environment.
  4. Fraud protection: Hackers utilize advanced tactics such as spear phishing, whaling and CEO fraud to solicit for personally identifiable information (PII), or to carry out fraud by impersonating emails from within the organization. Granular configurations for email settings, including SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance). These can help prevent illegitimate messages from entering your organization.
  5. Spam protection: To ensure spam does not clog inboxes and network resources, your organization needs an email security solution that leverages multiple methods of detecting spam and other unwanted email, including using specific allowed and blocked lists of people, domains and mailing lists; and the ability to enable third-party blocked lists.
  6. Advanced Reputation Management (ARM): A collaboration of multiple, cross-verified SonicWall Capture Threat Network sources, including SonicWall Advanced Content Management (ACM), provides dynamic, up-to-date analysis of email component reputations.
  7. Data loss prevention: An organization’s most sensitive communications require the utmost protection. The best measure is to encrypt sensitive emails and attachments using a service that works in tandem with email security.

How Sonicwall Hosted Email Security For Office 365 Can Assist

SonicWall Hosted Email Security (HES) is a multi-layer defense service that integrates with SonicWall Capture Advance Threat Protection (ATP), delivering fine-grained and user-transparent inspection of SMTP-based traffic to block zero-day threats.

SonicWall HES also includes advanced compliance scanning, management and optional email encryption, to prevent confidential data leaks, regulatory violations and to ensure the secure exchange of sensitive data.

With SonicWall HES, no additional client software is necessary. In addition, the service includes DMARC, a powerful email authentication method that helps identify spoofed mail, reducing advanced phishing attacks.

SonicWall HES enhances Office 365 using a multi-layer defense approach for industry-leading protection against advanced threats delivered via email. It also delivers superior anti-phishing, anti-spoofing, anti-spam, multi-engine AV and data loss prevention (DLP) for comprehensive protection.

Embrace The Cloud

Don’t let threat actors, criminals and nefarious organizations ruin the benefits your organization receives from workplace collaboration. Once integrated into Microsoft Office 365, SonicWall HES provides unparalleled breach prevention capabilities that defend against advanced threats originating from emails.

To learn more about how SonicWall HES protects your organization and enhances Microsoft Office 365, read more via the Tech Brief: Click here.

SonicWall Email Security 8.3 Delivers New Spam Detection and Authentication

Summertime means different things to different people. Whether it be kids enjoying time off from school, or parents taking long family vacations, summertime gives everyone an opportunity to re-energize and re-focus.

Everyone that is, including hackers.

Threats to your infrastructure don’t take a vacation, and if you’re entrusted with securing your organization email, it’s important to not leave your guard down during these warm summer days.

SonicWall Email Security solutions continuously protects your email infrastructure from ever-increasing threats including spam, phishing attacks, and malware. And, now you can rest even further knowing that the protection provided by SonicWall Email Security has been improved once again. Our latest release, Email Security 8.3, delivers more effective protection against emerging threats, through the following key features:

  • New Spam-Detection Engine – utilizes both a retrained Adversarial Bayesian model, as well as a new machine learning model which leverages a Support Vector Machine approach
  • SMTP Authentication – if you’re concerned about preventing unauthorized users on your infrastructure, new SMTP authentication requires a user to authenticate prior to sending outbound emails

Additionally, SonicWall Email Security solutions continue leveraging a robust architecture to deliver superior protection with the following features:

  • Multi-Layer Protection – proven, patented, email scanning technologies deliver superior real-time protection
  • Automated Management and Reporting ““ minimize required administration time
  • Compliance & Encryption Management – protect against confidential data leaks and compliance violations
  • Flexible Deployment Options – to best meet business infrastructure requirements, including on-Premise, Virtual, and Cloud-based
  • Scalable – ability to configure for growth and redundancy, allows your infrastructure to grow as required without requiring large upfront costs
  • Multi-Tenancy – enables MSPs to provision and manage email security services for multiple customers

SonicWall System Architecture

Graphic of SonicWall's System Architecture of Email Security 8.3

SonicWall Email Security provides the comprehensive protection needed, so maybe you too can enjoy your summer!

SonicWall Email Security 8.3 is available today for download for those with a valid license. For more information please contact your preferred reseller, reach us directly at 888.557.6642 or sales@sonicwall.com, or visit us for product detail here.