Email hijacking occurs when cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to an individual’s or organization’s email account, it continues to pose a significant threat in the digital world. This security incident has the potential to result in unauthorized access and misuse of valuable information, financial harm, and significant disruptions for individuals and organizations alike.
Recent statistics emphasize the increasing frequency and sophistication of these attacks. In 2023, there were reports of a significant rise in email-related breaches. Phishing attempts became more focused and intelligent.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has noted the global financial losses caused by Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams taking over email accounts. According to cybersecurity firms, email hijacking events have increased, compromising many business email systems.
These numbers highlight the crucial significance of email security. With email being such a crucial method of communication in both personal and professional settings, the hijacking issue is a major concern.
Cybercriminals always find new ways to carry out their malicious activities as technology advances. They take advantage of weaknesses in email systems and rely on human mistakes to achieve their goals. The consequences of these breaches can vary from individuals falling victim to identity theft to businesses suffering substantial financial losses and potential legal and compliance consequences.\
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Understanding Email Hijacking
This act is a matter of great concern for several reasons:
Accessing Sensitive Information: Email accounts frequently store a vast amount of sensitive information, encompassing personal and professional data. Unauthorized individuals can gain access to sensitive information, including confidential data, personal communications, and financial details, among other things.
Identity Theft and Fraud: When criminals gain control of an email account, they can pretend to be the account holder. These risks can compromise personal data, leading to potential harm such as identity theft, financial fraud, and unauthorized use of personal information.
Business Disruption and Reputation Damage: Email hijacking can significantly impact businesses, causing disruptions to operations and potentially damaging the organization’s reputation. Valuable business data is at risk of being unlawfully accessed, potentially leading to a breach of trust with clients and partners.
Potential for Continued Attacks: Frequently, obtaining entry into an email account is simply the initial phase for attackers. Utilizing the data discovered in emails, individuals can exploit it to initiate additional assaults, such as gaining unauthorized access to other connected accounts (such as bank accounts or social media profiles).
Both individuals and organizations need to grasp the gravity of email hijacking. The importance of implementing strong security measures to safeguard email accounts and the valuable data they hold cannot be overstated.
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How Email Accounts Are Compromised
A bank email requesting account confirmation due to suspicious activities’ The link is to a bogus banking site that steals credentials.
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In this type of phishing, the attacker targets a specific person and uses personal information to seem legitimate.
A fake email from a coworker or boss asking for urgent document access. A link in the email requests email credentials.
Malware can infect a user’s device and log keystrokes, including email passwords, or directly access email credentials.
A seemingly benign email attachment installs keylogging software. This spyware captures every keystroke, including email logins.
Automated software guesses passwords by trying several possibilities until one is identified.
For instance, an attacker cracks a weak email password by rapidly entering common passwords and variants.
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In contrast to traditional hacking methods, social engineering focuses on manipulating people’s emotions and thought processes. Convincing someone to violate established security protocols is a common tactic.
An imposter calls a company and pretends to be an IT assistance representative to trick an employee into giving over their email credentials.
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
MitM attacks intercept user-email service traffic. Attackers can steal data on insecure public Wi-Fi networks.
An attacker who steals a user’s email login information is watching the public Wi-Fi network of a coffee shop.
Account Recovery Information Theft
Attackers can access email accounts by stealing or guessing account recovery information such email addresses or phone numbers.
An attacker resets a user’s primary email password using their alternative account.
A SIM swap scam involves the attacker convincing the cell provider to move the victim’s phone number to his SIM card. This lets them steal 2FA codes.
An attacker swaps SIMs and gets the victim’s email account’s 2FA SMS codes.
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Phishing: The Primary Tool for Email Hijacking
Cybercriminals still use phishing, which is the most common and successful way to take over email accounts. Using lies to get people to give up private information, like login passwords, is what this method does. Understanding how phishing attacks work is important for people and businesses wanting to improve their security.
Phishing is a type of cyberattack that uses fake emails as a tool. The goal is to get the person who gets the email to think that it is something they want or need, like a note from their boss or a request from their bank. This will make them click on a link or download a file.
The Way a Phishing Attack Works
First Contact: The attacker sends an email that looks like it came from a real company. A well-known business, a bank, or even a coworker using a hacked account could be the target.
Content and Lure: The email has a message that is meant to make the receiver feel rushed or scared, which will make them act quickly. This could be a message saying that someone tried to log in without permission, that there is a problem with an account, or that personal information needs to be confirmed.
Deceptive Links and Attachments: The email may have a file that the receiver is told to open or a link to a fake website that looks like a real website.
Attack Types of Phishing
- Spear phishing is an attack that is specifically aimed at certain people or businesses.
- Whaling: Phishing attacks that go after famous people, like C-level leaders, are called “whaling.”
- Clone phishing is when someone uses a real email that has already been sent and has a file or link to make a similar email with malicious content.
How to Spot Phishing Emails
- Suspicious Email Addresses: The sender’s email address might look a lot like a real one, with only a few small differences that are easy to miss.
- Generic Greetings and Signatures: Plagiarized emails often use general greetings like “Dear Customer” instead of those specific to the recipient.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes: A lot of scam emails have spelling and grammar mistakes, which should raise a red flag for the people who receive them.
Techniques and Tools for Phishing
- Link manipulation is when someone hides the real target URL by using misleading domain names or URL shortening services.
- Strategies for social engineering Using the desire to know and how people think to get someone to reveal private information.
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Email Account Takeover:
An email account takeover is gaining illegal access to and control of a victim’s email account.
This can result in identity theft, financial fraud, and illegal access to connected accounts and sensitive information. The impact of this is quite significant.
Initial Breach: In order to get initial access to the victim’s email credentials, the attacker may employ a variety of techniques, including phishing, malware, or exploiting network flaws.
Verification of Credentials: Once the attacker has obtained prospective credentials, they will verify them, frequently with the cooperation of automated scripts.
Exploitation: Once the attacker has acquired access to the account, they are able to exploit it for a variety of harmful actions, such as sending spam, accessing associated accounts, or launching other assaults.
Trustifi’s AI-Powered Email account take over protection monitor user email behavior to detect anomalies in variables such as volume, context, devices, geo-location, type of sent emails, and more to detect and alert when a user’s mailbox has been compromised.
The Compromise Reached by the Executives in Real-World Scenario
An executive at a big organization receives an email that purports to be from the company’s information technology department. The email contains instructions on how to change their password using the email.
The email includes a link to a portal that allows users to reset their passwords, but it is a phony. They input their email credentials, which the attacker subsequently takes. The executive then enters their credentials.
The consequences of this include that the attacker can intercept critical company messages, make financial transactions, and compromise other employee accounts if they have access to the executive’s email account.
Email-Managed Security and Detection
“Email-managed security and detection” means a service or set of tools businesses use to keep their email systems safe from different online risks. These services and tools can find, stop threats like scams, malware, spam, and other bad things that can damage email security. To give you an idea of what this usually involves:
- Threat Detection: This involves identifying potential security threats in incoming and outgoing emails. Advanced threat detection technologies like machine learning algorithms can analyze email content for signs of phishing, malware, or other types of attacks.
- Spam Filtering: An essential part of email security, spam filters block unsolicited and potentially harmful emails from reaching user inboxes.
- Phishing Protection: This includes identifying and blocking emails that attempt to deceive recipients into disclosing sensitive information, like passwords or credit card numbers.
- Malware and Virus Scanning: Emails and attachments are scanned for malicious software that could harm the network or steal data.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP): This involves monitoring and controlling sensitive information transfer outside the corporate network via email.
- Encryption: Encrypting email messages to protect sensitive information during transit and at rest.
- Incident Response and Remediation: If a threat is detected, these services provide tools and protocols for responding to and mitigating the threat.
- Compliance Management: Ensuring that email communication complies with relevant regulations and standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA, etc.
- User Training and Awareness: Educating users about best practices in email usage to reduce the risk of human error leading to security breaches.
- Reporting and Analytics: Providing insights into the types and frequencies of threats, helping organizations understand their security posture and improve it over time.
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Trustifi’s AI-Powered Email Security solutions
With Trustifi’s AI-powered email security services and advanced protection, even the most complex email-borne threats, such as ransomware, malware, phishing (with harmful links), CEO impersonation, business email compromise (BEC), and so on, can be rapidly detected and countered.
Understanding the Risks of Email Hijacking
Email hijacking involves unauthorized access to an email account, leading to data breaches, financial fraud, and identity theft. The methods used for these attacks, such as phishing, malware, and account takeover tactics, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As these threats evolve, so must our strategies for combating them.
Trustifi’s ai Powered Email Security Solutions
Trustifi offers a suite of AI-Powered email security solutions designed to tackle the multifaceted challenges of email hijacking. Here’s how Trustifi stands out:
- Advanced Threat Protection
- Trustifi’s email security services use cutting-edge algorithms and scanning methods to detect threats that traditional filters might miss. This includes protection against phishing, spear-phishing, and other sophisticated email-based attacks.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
- Trustifi’s DLP capabilities help prevent sensitive information from being shared unintentionally or maliciously. This feature is crucial for compliance with regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and others.
- Email Encryption
- To ensure the confidentiality and integrity of email communication, Trustifi offers military-grade encryption. This ensures that even if an email is intercepted, the contents remain secure and unreadable to unauthorized parties.
- Inbound and Outbound Email Security
- Trustifi not only secures incoming emails from potential threats but also monitors outgoing emails. This dual approach ensures comprehensive protection.
- Ease of Integration and Use
- Trustifi’s solutions are designed for easy integration with existing email platforms, making the transition seamless for users. The user-friendly interface ensures that all employees can effectively utilize these tools without extensive training.
Trusitifi’s Inbound & Outbound shied
In order to prevent the largest possible range of sophisticated email based attacks from reaching a user’s inbox, advanced threat prevention ensures that they are prevented.
Trusitifi provide a comprehensive email security solution that is hosted in the cloud. This solution functions as an email filter, employing advanced artificial intelligence to analyze incoming emails and successfully identifying and preventing email threats.
- Text analysis with advanced AI detects impersonation, spoofing, spear phishing, and BEC.
- URL protection stops dangerous URLs from any device; full URL and file scanning
- Filtering spam/gray emails using AI prevents attacks involving phishing.
Avoid mistakes and the loss of private information by using DLP to automatically scan emails and 256-bit AES security.
- It only takes minutes to set up encryption rules for outgoing emails and danger protection policies for your whole company.
- Easy-to-use interface: choose the best email security options from Trustifi and open protected emails with just one click.
- Stay in line with more than 10 frameworks with just one click.
|Protects against external threats entering the organization via email.
|Prevents sensitive or harmful information from leaving the organization via email.
|Security from malicious attacks, phishing, malware, spam, etc.
|Data loss prevention, compliance, and monitoring of outbound communication.
|Phishing, malware (viruses, ransomware), spam, email spoofing, and impersonation.
|Data breaches, compliance violations, accidental or intentional data leaks, malware propagation.
|Advanced email filtering
|Data leak prevention (DLP)
Email content filtering
|Reduces risk of malware and phishing attacks
Protects sensitive data
Maintains network integrity
|Prevents unauthorized data sharing
Ensures regulatory compliance
Protects organizational reputation
Phishing detection tools
Sender reputation analysis
Content analysis tools
Compliance monitoring systems
|Primarily affects incoming email to users within the organization.
|Controls and monitors emails sent from the organization to external contacts.
Real-World Applications of Trustifi Solutions
In a corporate environment, where email is a primary communication tool, Trustifi’s solutions provide peace of mind. For example, a financial services firm handling sensitive client data can utilize Trustifi’s encryption and DLP features to safeguard against data breaches. Similarly, healthcare providers can ensure HIPAA compliance through secure email practices facilitated by Trustifi.
The Importance of User Awareness and Training
While Trustifi provides robust technical defenses against email hijacking, user awareness and education are equally important. Trustifi’s approach includes tools and resources for educating users about email security best practices, making it a comprehensive solution for email protection.
Conclusion: A Proactive Approach to Email Security
In conclusion, with the rise of email hijacking threats, the need for robust email security solutions has never been more critical. Trustifi’s suite of products offers a proactive and comprehensive approach to safeguarding email communication. By combining advanced technology with user education, Trustifi presents a formidable defense against the ever-evolving landscape of email security threats, making it an indispensable tool for individuals and businesses aiming to protect their digital communications.
You can try AI-powered Protection for Business Email Security from Trusitifi to stop sophisticated attacks before they reach a user’s inbox – Request a Free Demo.