After the advent of the internet, communication has become a lot faster. As technology grew, letters were gradually replaced by telegrams, faxes and now we communicate through emails. Email is short for electronic mail. It is sent over the internet to individuals having their own unique email addresses, much like letters. Nowadays, it has become the standard of communication among people and businesses. As we know, technology has its dark side, and so do emails. One of the methods of using emails to scam people is email spoofing. In this article, we will discuss everything regarding email spoofing, and how your business can be protected against it.
What is email spoofing?
The act of creating a duplicate of an email header and its address and sending it to people is known as email spoofing. Usually, this is done to carry out fraud and corrupt practices. A spoofed email is usually accompanied by links and files that contain malware or ransomware.
In regards to email spoofing, you can be a victim in two ways. One way is that your email id is being spoofed and used to send other people potentially harmful material. The second way is that you are receiving a spoofed mail and thereby receiving the harmful content.
Is spoofing an email easy?
If a person has a brief knowledge of the computers, servers, and code language, then it is fairly easy to spoof an email. It is a topic that can be learned from the internet and YouTube. In short, there are SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol servers, which lets anyone send a spoofed email. All one needs to do is execute a computer script to forge an email and send it to the victim’s email address.
How to protect yourself from email spoofing?
There are a few things that you need to be cautious of in order to identify and protect yourself from spoofed emails. Some of them are discussed below:
- Double-checking the email address – usually while spoofing an email address, small changes are made to the email to make it look similar but not identical to the original email. For example, instead of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, it could be ‘email@example.com’. You should properly check the email address if you find something suspicious within the email.
- Checking the quality of language – usually, the person who is spoofing the email is an outsider and does not know the company jargon. At times the quality of the email and the grammar seems to be fishy. In such cases, one should consult with the sender about the authenticity of the email.
- Contact the sender – if you find something wrong in an email then immediately contact the person to whom the email belongs to. This fact must come to their notice. Spoofed emails might contain a lot of harmful material in the form of viruses, malware, Trojans, and ransomware. It might destroy the reputation of the email holder amongst the employees and other people.
- Avoid request actions – if the email provides instructions to visit some links or download any files, then avoid doing that. If those actions are, then all the data stored on that computer might be compromised. Along with that, the whole infrastructure security.
How to protect your business from email spoofing?
There are a lot of ways to protect your business from email spoofing. The three most common measures that can be included are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. One of the more unique but effective techniques is to use artificial intelligence as well. All of these measures will be further discussed below:
- SPF – SPF is short for Sender Policy Framework. SPF is a tool that is used to verify and authenticate an email and the IP address from which it originated. When setting up an SPF record, you can specify the IP addresses that are allowed to send emails from your specific Domain. Doing so will block all other IP addresses that will try to send emails from that Domain. It is important to note that SPF only ensures that the address of the email is safeguarded, not the email header.
- DKIM – DKIM is short of DomainKeys Identified Mail. This mechanism is quite similar to SPF. DKIM uses encryption for the authentication and the validation of the email. The advantage of using encryption is that without decrypting the email, no one can modify the header content. Even if someone spoofs an email address, the server won’t accept an unencrypted email to pass through. It protects both the receiver and the sender.
- DMARC – DMARC is short of Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance. DMARC adds versatility to the works of the SPF and the DKIM system. If SPF and DKIM protect a domain and if an email fails one of them, then DKIM sends an error report. Furthermore, different actions can be set to take place upon the email failing either of the protocols, for example, blocking the email, spamming the email, or reporting the email.
Implementing these protocols in your email server is relatively easy. TXT records are used to implement these measures in the DNS server. Inteck IT can do this job for you for a nominal fee. Simply call us on 1300 39 65 65 and we’ll provide you with a free IT consultation to see what is right for you and your business.
Protecting yourself and your business from email spoofing is a two-way process. First of all, the business needs to implement the above measures to safeguard its domain from being used properly. It will make it impossible for the spoofers to spoof the email and copy it.
Furthermore, it would help if you were cautious about the emails that you receive. Even if you receive an email from a known email address, you should make sure that you properly check the header and body of the email. Usually, the quality of the language and the overall makeup on the email lets you know whether it is an original email or a spoofed email.
If you’d like assistance in preventing email spoofing from affecting yourself and your business, feel free to get in touch with us. Inteck IT can help protect you and your business from email spoofing. Contact us today at 1300 39 65 65 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.