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How Cyber Criminals Exploit Poor Email Security and Harm Your Business


Cyber criminals have an enormous variety of methods and tools with which to hack into your business network and gain access to your data. It almost doesn't matter what the data is because someone somewhere will find a way to exploit it for profit. In fact, data black markets exist online where hackers sell the information they steal to criminals who know exactly how to use it. Information is online gold, and profit is the powerful incentive that drives cyber criminals to steal. This is why you can never be too careful with your email security.


Your company's email accounts contain information such as the names and email addresses of your customers. If a cyber criminal hacks into your email server, the person has access to all of this information. How would they exploit it?


A spear phisher might study your correspondence with customers enough to send fake, but convincing emails to them in which the criminal poses as you. From there, they might ask your customers for sensitive personal information in the form of a plausible request. Or they might ask your customers to log into their accounts with you on fake login pages and thereby obtain their login credentials. This gives the criminals direct access to your customers' accounts and the sensitive information stored there.


Spear phishers can also target your employees and trick them into revealing login credentials to areas where sensitive corporate and customer data are stored. Alternatively, an employee might click a link in the email that loads spyware, such as a keylogger, into her or his machine. The spyware then transmits login credentials used by the employee to the cyber criminal.


Regardless of how criminals go about obtaining information, you will have a data breach on your hands, which may cause enough harm to shut down your business. Lost customer confidence and a damaged reputation can seriously hurt your current and future business revenue. A data breach also opens the door to civil lawsuits from customers victimized by criminal access to their information.


Email security starts with making security a part of your corporate culture. Educate your employees about its seriousness and about important security measures such as how to choose strong passwords and how to recognize email phishing attempts. For more information about this and answers to your questions, feel free to contact us.

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