Biggest Email Security Trends to Prepare for in 2021

Email has been around since 1971. That’s the same year IBM invented the floppy disk or Sharp invented the pocket calculator. It’s also the same year the USSR launched Salyut 1, the first low-orbit space station around Earth. 

Some of these are no longer with us (like the USSR), others have all but became obsolete (floppy disc and pocket calculators), but email is still kicking 40+ years later. 

Of course, every year brings new email security challenges for your account and 2020 is no different. With that in mind, here are the biggest email security trends that you should keep an eye on in 2020.

  1. Email Spoofing is the Biggest Cybersecurity Concern Today

According to a Mimecast State of Email Security Report 2020, which surveyed 1,025 IT decision-makers, 84% of respondents are concerned about email or web spoofing in 2020. In addition, almost half of the companies that took part in the report (49%) believe there will be an increase in email and web spoofing this year.

  1. COVID-19 Email Scams will Continue to Rise

Scammers are always preying on peoples’ fears and today few things that scare people as much as the coronavirus disease, aka COVID-19. With nearly 4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. alone and 14.7 million worldwide, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know is infected. In that situation, people are much more susceptible to an email phishing scam promising them a cure for the virus or to test a new vaccine.

  1. Payload Attacks are on the Rise

Payload attacks are one of the trickier email security threats for end-users to identify. According to MalwareBytes, while there’s been a 2% drop in overall consumer-centered malware attacks, there’s been a 224% increase in malware that can penetrate systems and networks and download payloads.

  1. Taking Over a High-Value Email Account has Never been Easier

For over 40 years, email users have always had to deal with various email security threats. Fortunately for them, hacking an email required a considerable amount of skill and not every would-be hacker had the tools to do it. 

That situation is changing rapidly and today you can get phishing kits on the dark web for around $300, complete with all the assets you need to hack even high-value email accounts. 

  1. Ransomware will Continue to Rise in 2020 and Beyond

Ransomware will continue to be popular with cybercriminals in 2020 and beyond that for the simple fact that it’s the shortest distance they have to take between investment and profit. It’s a fast and cheap way of getting money from victims

However, while the rate at which new ransomware families appear has slowed in 2019, the average ransomware demand has increased and was $36,000 in Q2 2019. 

  1. Artificial Intelligence Becomes Primary Tool in Beating Advanced Email Threats

Businesses need to adopt a new approach to email security, if they intend to solve advanced email security threats. One that looks beyond malicious content.

In that regard, artificial intelligence (AI) will play a big role. More specifically, pairing machine learning (ML) and sender identity intelligence will become necessary for companies to identify and deal with advanced email security threats in 2020.

  1. Health and Genetics Companies Email will be the Prime Target in 2020

Not only is the global COVID-19 situation making people scared and therefore more likely victims to any coronavirus-related fraud. Cybercriminals have also figured out that health and genetic research companies are excellent targets for their illegal activities and that they can get a lot of info on their consumers, including email accounts.

As such, expect more phishing and malicious software attacks on health companies and their databases, with the aim of getting valuable records on users that criminals can later exploit at will.

  1. Security Misconfiguration Attacks will be a Big Email Security Problem in 2021

While most email scammers directly target the end-user with a phishing attack or other fraud, those more advanced look for a weakness in the server that they can take advantage of.

Many companies fail to perform regular security checks on their web servers, or they misconfigure them from the very start. This way, they are basically keeping their doors wide open for hackers to attack their system.

  1. We’ll See More Insider Email Schemes

It’s much easier to identify outside than inside threats. The same goes for phishing. A phishing attack from an employee in your company or a coworker is much more difficult to detect than the one that comes from the outside. 

Add this to the fact that the goal of these attacks is often not direct financial profit, but information such as consumer data, research, sensitive documents or competitive intelligence and you can see why you need to pay as much attention to insider email threats as those on the outside.

  1. More Companies will Adopt DMARC and Other Email Authentication Protocols

Email authentication protocols will become a must in 2021 and that includes above all Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), which the United States Department of Homeland Security BOD (Binding Operational Directive 18-01 requires executive branch agencies to adopt. 

On the other hand, over 80% of Fortune 500 companies are still vulnerable to email impersonation attacks, according to the latest Agari Email Security Predictions 2020, making email authentication protocols a must-have for any organization that wants to secure its emails.

Conclusion

Email will remain one of the most important communication tools that we have at our disposal. At the same time, as this is nothing new to cybercriminals, they will continue to come up with new and sophisticated ways to breach our emails. 

As such, it’s important in 2020, as it was in 2019 or will be in 2021, to understand the latest email security trends and threats that you have to deal with. 

Don’t take risks, secure your email data with CTemplar

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