Email Security

Protection against e-mail spam, phishing & malware

Despite the rise of social media, e-mail remains the primary business communication tool. Unfortunately, it is also often the weakest point in an organization’s networking infrastructure; subjected to a barrage of e-mail borne attacks including spam, phishing, spear-phishing, zero-day, and covert malware and Trojan code distribution.

And it’s a growing problem, with Wired magazine estimating that more than 90% of hacking attacks begin with an e-mail approach[1] and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) reporting a 250% increase in phishing websites in the first quarter of 2016.[2]

For this reason, it is important that businesses make use of the latest, comprehensive e-mail security and protection services. And that means taking advantage of real-time, cloud-based security systems that can provide seamless, and cost effective, protection across the entire organization, including mobile and home-based workers.

How it works: Cloud-based Email Security Service

activereach’s e-mail security service is based entirely in the cloud and provides a multi-layered detection and protection engine. The system undertakes real-time scanning of all inbound e-mails using advanced machine intelligence to detect suspicious material and spot anomalies in headers, body content and domain information.

The service is based around three lines of defence against the most common types of attacks:

  • URL Protection.
  • Attachment Protection.
  • Impersonation Protection (anti-socially engineered attacks).

URL Protection offers an ‘on-click’ shield against phishing, spear-phishing and similar styles of targeted, domain-based attack. It works by monitoring all inbound e-mail and rewriting any URLs with temporary links which point back to the threat monitoring agent. When a user clicks on one of these links the software scans ahead to ensure the destination website is legitimate. Employees are permitted access to clean sites without delay, while access to compromised sites is blocked.

Impersonation Protection blocks spear-phishing attacks which target particular types of employees who have access to finance or high-value intellectual property or data. These sophisticated attacks often involve social engineering tactics to trick users that they are coming from trusted, legitimate sources. A fast growing, and highly pernicious, form of attack often known as ‘whaling’ these e-mails can pass easily through traditional e-mail security gateway checking software.

Impersonation Protection uses sophisticated algorithms to analyse the e-mail header and content to identify malicious combinations of suspicious wording within an e-mail. Messages that are deemed suspicious can be rejected or subjected to a quarantine process. The system also protects against display name fraud and friendly name spoofing.

Attachment Protection provides insurance against so-called ‘weaponized’ attachments (those which contain malicious and Trojan code).  The system removes e-mail attachments that are judged to contain unexpected code (e.g. macros within PDF or Word files) and transcribes them into safe, readable versions. If a user requires an editable version of the original then access is provided within a separate, secure ‘sandbox’ area of the e-mail cloud system.

This trio of security features offers the ultimate combination of security and performance, and allows selection of appropriate protection for different groups of employees.

An important, additional feature of the cloud system is the ability to develop employee awareness of e-mail security risks through specially-designed alerts and warning screens. These techniques can be used to help change user behaviour with respect to e-mail security and, in effect, helps develop an additional, ‘human firewall’ within the organization.

activereach Cloud-Based Email Security Solution offers:

  • Cloud-based, multi-layered protection from e-mail malware, spam and phishing attacks.
  • Protection from socially engineered impersonation attacks.
  • Real-time, on-click URL protection for avoiding malicious websites.
  • Comprehensive attachment protection with quarantining and sandboxing.
  • Automatic transcription of e-mail documents to neutralise malicious macros.
  • Automatic protection from unknown, or newly formed, potentially malicious domain names.
  • Comprehensive protection across all devices, including mobile and BYOD.
  • Easy-to-use administrative console for complete e-mail security policy control.
  • Real-time security breach logging, auditing and reporting facilities.
  • Dynamic user-awareness facility to help develop employee awareness.
  • Easy-to-use graded protection level selection for different classes of employee.
  • Rapid deployment with no additional client software or hardware.
  • Supports Microsoft® Exchange, Gmail™ and other popular e-mail systems and clients.

[1] Kim Zetter, Hacker Lexicon: What Are Phishing and Spear Phishing? [blog], Wired, (4th May 2015).
[2] APWG, Phishing Activity Trends Report, 1st Quarter 2016 (Barcelona: APWG, May 2016).
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