Although email marketing has passed through a tremendous evolutionary process still we can see some issues such as email spoofing. Most of us have been targeted by spoofing in one way or another, the reason behind this is that it targets everyone including an individual or business.
Due to some issues in core email protocols, and drawbacks in built-in authentication measures, people fall victim to email spoofing.
In this article, we shall about email spoofing in detail, what is it how can you protect yourself. Keep reading!
Table of Contents
- What is email spoofing?
- Reasons for email spoofing
- How does email spoofing work?
- How to get protected from email spoofing?
- Implement SPF
- Setup DKIM
- Keep your employees aware of the cyber attacks
- Consistent branding
What Is Email Spoofing?
Email spoofing is some kind of cyberattack where the receiver receives an email from a threat actor using a fake sender address. Primarily, it is a creation of emails with forged sender addresses. These spam emails can spoof the email header to mislead the receiver about the sender.
Engagement with email is one of the core goals of email spoofing. When a recipient receives a spoof email, he opens it up to find something relevant. This type of email increase cyberattacks risks resulting in phishing and trapping the recipients by taking advantage of their trust in the email sender. This can be e great problem if left unaddressed.
For example, if you receive an email from the CEO of your company to transfer some amount to a foreign account, it will be a problem for the system to further card numbers and personal information. Attackers use email spoofing to act like a familiar person and manipulate the impression that email is coming from a certain outer individual.
Sometimes, the spoofer plays tricky with the company’s name by changing one or two letters, i.e., “Born” instead of “Borne” or other letters that don’t allow you to notice the minor differences.
Most of the time, spoofed emails could not catch by spam filters and send to the inbox. The problem arises when a person opens up the email and clicks the link available in the email. This malicious link installs malware in the system that proved to be highly risky in the future for sensitive details.
Reasons for Email Spoofing
The fundamental reason for email spoofing is to acquire financial details or other sensitive information. Although the motives behind spoofing vary from person to person, and organization to organization, the most common is to obtain critical information about a person or an organization.
The sender hides himself to be anonymous to gain personal benefits. The spam filters are so sophisticated that they catch suspicious email and send it to the junk folder. That is one of the reasons the sender uses email spoofing by using another’s name or domain to pass through the filters and land in the recipient’s mailbox.
Also, when email spoofing becomes successful, the attacker attacks personal files and other important information. This act can ruin the victim’s career and expose him to being unprofessional.
Scammers act like your friends or colleagues or a trusted organization willing to take you to phishing pages in order to compel you to click malicious links.
How Does Email Spoofing Work?
The target of email spoofing is to make the users believe that the sender is a known and trustworthy person. Taking the advantage of this trust, the attackers attack personal and sensitive data to take some action.
For example, a person who received an email looks from PayPal with a warning that if the recipient will not click the link, authenticate the password, etc. If the attacker successfully traps the recipient, he will be able to target the user’s PayPal account. The spoofed emails look like so legitimate and the recipient believes it to be genuine correspondence from a person or a company.
Email spoofing is doable with the limitations in the SMTP, allowing emails to be sent from one person to another. When a spoofer does spoofing, he uses free online SMTP server services, designed his email, and sends it to the user by mentioning the desired email address in the “From” field.
SMTP does not verify this email address if it belongs to the sender or not. The only issue for the attacker comes when a recipient replies to that email because the reply email will be sent to the real user’s inbox. It is helpful for the attacker when the recipient clicks the link available in the email for further action.
How to Get Protected from Email Spoofing
Although a lot of work has been done for email security, there are still some issues of reaching malicious emails to your mailbox. Along with the Email Service Providers’ spam filers, you need to take personal pain and responsibility to not click any suspicious link.
If you do this, it will be harmful to your career as a professional. Several steps can be taken to avoid becoming a victim of email spoofing. First of all, never click a link where you are asked to authenticate. If there is any official compulsion for authentication, type the official domain in your browser, and authenticate directly on the website.
Further, do not open suspicious attachments from unknown senders, these attachments can carry malware that can be installed automatically in the system to leak important data.
Never trust emails promising to make you rich. These emails are good for deletion even without opening them up because mostly they are scams.
Whenever you find a suspicious email, copy and paste the text to the search engines. There is a hope that many others might also have faced a such issue and reported it online.
Furthermore, the level of the content used in the email and grammatical mistakes will tell you a lot about the sender, never ignore the content and the grammatical mistakes in the email.
There are some other ways to save yourself from email spoofing, discussed as under:
Sender Policy Framework or SPF checks if the sender domain name comes from the designated IP or servers. The SPF checks the email domain and IP of the device. If the fails the authorization, the email failed the SPF test, resulting in a “fake”.
Now, when the email client will read it as “fake”, the email will be blocked or sent to the spam folder.
Domain Keys Identified Mail, or DKIM is a security method with a DKIM signature stamp public key, and private key. This signature stamp attests that the details in the ‘From” section are not tempered and come from a legitimate source.
Keep Your Employees Aware of the Cyberattacks
Employee training is one of the finest ways to avoid email spoofing. In the training, you can inform the employees about cybersecurity, cyberattacks, and how to deal with them.
If a person clicks a suspicious link in the email and compromised some important information, both company and the employee are responsible. The reason behind this is that company might not have trained well its employees to shield itself against these attacks.
Make your employees experts in identifying an authentic email vs a spoofed email. After imparting enough training, test their ability to handle email spoofing. If there is still any flaw, work more on their training to make them experts.
After passing through this due process, they will be able to handle any suspicious email to protect your company from becoming a victim of a cyberattack.
When you send email marketing campaigns to your users, set a specific tone for your brand. This tone should be identifiable by the users as soon as they receive your email.
When you will follow a certain pattern in the email, your users will immediately recognize the spoofed email.
Email spoofing is a reality that cannot be denied. You can take several measures to save yourself and your company from cyberattacks. Spammers can use your domain to send a fake email to your audience with negative objectives.
Although there are recognized drawbacks, still there are many actions that can be taken to protect your company and its important data from email spoofing.
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