Understanding vulnerability scoring can be a challenging task, however, a good starting point is to realize what risk is and be able to distinguish risk from a vulnerability. Both of them are used interchangeably over a long period.
Vulnerability is one aspect of a system’s functioning architecture that makes the resource a target of potential exploitation, misuse and also leads to denial of service.
Whereas Risk is the potential which is the threat, that will be realized in the event of a particular vulnerability.
An email vulnerability, or rather any type of data security vulnerability, is one kind of a weakness in the system that, at some point, can be misused by a cybercriminal.
And due to its ubiquitous capability, it can be left open to many different kinds of vulnerability. There are different ways that hackers may attack your email clients. Some of these methods also include the distribution of malware like adware, Trojans, spyware, and viruses, just to name a few!
Some of the commonly known email security vulnerabilities are as below-
- Human Error
Some data loss may be caused by human error and not all the data loss is the result of any intentional cyber attack by hackers.
This is generally the result of a lack of awareness, training, or education as well as not having any clear and documented operational procedures in the company regarding data loss prevention.
A misconfiguration may be in the email service itself or the server, or the system you are using. It is to be noted that a bad configuration may expose you to a criminal to exploit your data in different ways.
How to Save Your Sensitive Data From Cyber Attacks?
The computer operating system is generally used as an email client platform. Regardless of what type of client you are using like- Outlook Express, Eudora, Microsoft Outlook, or others, here are some steps you may take to save your email client against the vulnerabilities.
- Plain Text: When you are viewing your email message, use plain text format instead of formats such as HTML or rich text format that can open up your email client to vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
- Automatic Updates: Always use the mail client’s recent version software and just make sure that you are having the update feature enabled that should be automatic.
- Antivirus Software: Always use the antivirus software that may include a virus signature to monitor your email files. It depends on the program that you are using, you often can configure the automatic update for virus signatures.
- Don’t Unsubscribe: In case you receive unsolicited emails then do not click to unsubscribe to the list as it may contain malware or also lead you to a website that is infected with malware. Just delete the unsolicited message or if it has ended up in your spam folder, clear up the clutter altogether.
- Administrator: Never run mail clients under administrator privileges. In case it is impossible, you should try to restrict the privileges while logged on as an administrator. The administrator privileges may open up your email customers to be exploited by a potential hacker.
- Attachments: You need to make sure that the attachments are scanned by your antivirus program even before you access them. Most antivirus programs have this feature and will let you know in case there is a threat of a virus before you access or open the attachment.
- Receipts and Confirmations: Change or configure the settings in your email client so that it does not automatically send return receipts or read confirmations. In case the email is infected then opening or sending a message or any activity may spread the infection to the recipient’s email client also.
- Use Encryption: Make sure that the confidential data is safe and secure, use encryption for sharing these types of messages or information.
Education and training are also very key in case you wish to avoid any undesired information breach whether that is via email spoofing or phishing attacks. That is the reason you need to be able to recognize such an attempt and make a difference between a real and fake email.
Moreover, understanding the important points of email vulnerability, including but not limited to an email server, email client, and the transmission itself also helps prevent or mitigate the possible risks of email security threats.
The greatest way to do this is with the assistance of an email encryption service like CTemplar which offers coverage and protection for your sensitive data whether in transit or/and at rest.