email phishing scam

How To Stop Email Spoofing: Tips and Tricks

email phishing scamWhile the term “email spoofing” may not sound scary, this funny-sounding scam can produce catastrophic results for you or your company. A 2017 study reports that an average of nearly 30,000 spoofing attacks happens every single day! So what is email spoofing? Essentially, email spoofing is a tactic at the center of basically all kinds of email phishing scams. Have you ever gotten a phone call from “yourself” (with your caller ID displaying your phone number and/or your name), or if you’ve ever received an email from “yourself” (with your name and/or email address displayed in the “from” field of the email header)? If so, then you’ve been spoofed.?

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Cybercriminals commonly employ this tactic to impersonate somebody else and accomplish their goals. Anybody can be the victim of email spoofing, whether as the recipient or as the organization/person/institution whose email is being spoofed. However, there’s more to spoofing than just the definition and the fact that it’s a scam. This article will discuss what you need to know about email phishing, how it works, and how to protect yourself from it.?

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What To Know About Email Phishing And Spoofing

Here are some basics of email phishing and spoofing you should know:

What Is Phishing And Email Spoofing?

Essentially, “phishing” is when criminals use deceptive tactics to trick victims into taking some action. One of the many phishing tactics criminals use is email spoofing, which refers to sending an email that looks like it’s dispatched from a sender that it’s not really from. A cybercriminal may send you an email that looks like it’s from a trusted source like your email service provider or your boss, for example. So why would a cybercriminal want to do something like this? Some common goals of phishing are getting their targeted victims to:

  • Turn over intellectual property and other proprietary data or information
  • Offer personal or financial information
  • Provide login information or other user credentials
  • Perform a wire transfer or other transfer of funds
  • Click on a malware link
  • Download malicious software

Cybercriminals know that potential victims are more likely to engage with the email content and any included attachments or links by sending a spoofed email that looks like it came from a trusted source. If you believe it came from somebody you trust, you’re also more likely to believe what the person says in the message. For a criminal to pull off a successful scam, building trust is crucial.?

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How Does Email Spoofing Work?

Unlike what some non-tech users may think, email spoofing isn’t black magic or some extremely complex task. It’s a straightforward process that makes email headers look like they’re coming from one organization or person when they’re not. To achieve this, cybercriminals typically use an SMTP server and email software. The act of email spoofing isn’t only about mimicking the sender’s display name but also includes other kinds of fraud like email address spoofing, domain spoofing, and using domains that look like trusted domains. However, display name spoofing is the most common. Proofpoint reports that in Q2 of 2017, 90.27% of the email fraud attacks they analyzed and blocked utilized this tactic.?

Another common tactic cybercriminals employ is to research specific individuals within an organization they’re looking to target. By gathering information about that individual, their department, and the organization’s hierarchy, cybercriminals can more efficiently gain their target’s trust.?

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Protect Yourself From Email Spoofing

There are many different solutions to stop spoof email attacks. More and more vendors today invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which can identify more sophisticated cases. However, most vendors stick to the three most common authentication mechanisms. These industry standbys are powerful, simple tools that can help you combat email spoofing.?

The three main mechanisms used to combat email spoofing are SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance). Specifically, these mechanisms detect the servers allowed to send emails using your domain. Below we discuss how to use these mechanisms to improve your domain safety and stop email spoofing.

Tips To Fight Email Spoofing

Add SPF Record

SPF is an email verification and authentication mechanism focusing on protection against spoofing. SPF allows the user to pre-set IP addresses that are allowed to send emails using your domain. If the IP address doesn’t match the domain you have programmed the email verification program to accept, then the email provider will be notified to block the message.

Add DKIM Record

DKIM is another mechanism you can employ to stop criminals from using your domain to send malicious emails. DKIM uses encryption technology to validate emails coming into your inbox. DKIM also ensures the message has not been modified since it was sent from the source, adding extra protection for both message senders and recipients.?

Add DMARC Record

DMARC works by standardizing the way servers verify emails. DMARC uses SPC and/or DKIM to verify the sender and let the domain owner determine what to do. For example, if the program spots problems in the message, it sends the message to quarantine. DMARC also allows domain owners to receive reports regarding emails that were delivered and/or failed.?

Adding SPF, DKIM, and DMARC To My Domain

The best part of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC is that they can all be gotten for free! All you have to do is use them. You can set them up through TXT records in the DNS. The only problem you may run into is that deployment may be a little tricky, so if you don’t know how to start, we suggest reading dmarc.org/ and dkim.org.?

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For comprehensive email protection and security, you require a diverse array of mechanisms and tools. Consider a complete solution like a Secure Email Gateway, which lets you set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Cyber Security Resources is dedicated to providing various cybersecurity services and products, like security assessments and consulting. Protect your business today with Cyber Security Resources!

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Looking for a comprehensive cybersecurity solution? Call CyberSecurity Resource today!

 

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