The importance of email security is known by most users, yet it remains largely unheeded in most instances. The substantial components of the security must be strong enough to save the organization from threats, attacks, and malware. Especially, the business communication emails, user mailboxes, and sensitive data need maximum protection against such vulnerabilities for viable business continuity.
Zimbra email servers being the most popular among others are already secure because of some best security measures they include. However, let’s have a look at three of the most common real challenges circulating around and the preventive measures taken to safeguard the critical data.
The E-mail System in a Nutshell: How does it work?
Ray Tomlinson was the one who sent the first email in 1971. Even though it was a fairly basic message-based exchange, it served as the foundation for the sophisticated e-mails of today. The primary elements of an email system that make it easier to send and receive emails online can be briefly explained as follows:
An e-mail client: An e-mail client provides you with the following capabilities :
- Lists all the messages that have been sent to you. Each entry in the list includes the sender’s name, the message’s subject, a few sentences from the body, and the time and date that it was received.
- Allows you to read a message in its entirety, respond to it, and forward it to other people.
- Allows users to create new messages and send them to certain recipients.
- Remove (delete) the message.
The email clients could be web-based or standalone. The essential capabilities mentioned above are offered by all types of email clients, even though some may offer a variety of sophisticated features.
An e-mail server (SMTP server): An email server receives every message you send using your email client. The email server controls the messages it has received. If the receiver is on the same subnet, the message is forwarded to a POP or IMAP service; otherwise, it uses the normal method to transmit the message to the intended recipient through the Internet.
POP and IMAP servers: These servers enter the picture, as previously said, when a message is received by an SMTP server and needs to be forwarded to the intended recipient. Let’s talk about each of these servers individually:
- POP: Post Office Protocol is referred to as POP. In its most basic form, a POP (or POP3) server saves the messages for a specific user in a text file. Every time an email is received by a POP server, information is added to the file for that user. If your email client is set up to use the POP3 protocol, then every time you attempt to get emails through your email client, a request for the same is sent to your POP server.
- IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol is referred to as IMAP. Although POP is also used to access emails, this protocol is much more powerful. The central email access offered by an IMAP server is one of its most notable features. You may access emails from any computer or device thanks to IMAP servers, which, unlike POP servers, retain emails on the server itself. Additionally, this server offers simple email management features including searching, classifying, and sub-folder placement.
Top 3 threats an email server faces
Since email has been the most popular end-user network application for many years, it is not surprising that attackers have concentrated their efforts on taking advantage of email security flaws. Security teams have long been aware of the fundamental email security dangers, even though attack methods have advanced significantly over time. As a result, they can deploy email security best practices to secure mail services at the client’s end. Still, given how fast technology evolves, cyber-criminals never fail to come up with new sets of tech-enabled approaches to steal your data. This is why it is extremely crucial that you continue investing in cloud best practices. It always helps to know the most common threats that an average email server faces, which we have explained below:
It is one of the most common attack methods that cybercriminals use to gain access to user data. Credit card numbers and login information are frequently included in this data. It happens when an attacker poses as a reputable organization and tricks the victim into opening an email. In most situations, these email security hazards are concealed by the company’s official symbols, such as logos and graphics. They typically target accounts that are at risk and lower-level staff. They can easily trick you into acting against your best interests because these emails look so real.
Attacks on social engineering often use psychological duping to trick unwary users or employees into providing private or sensitive information. Social engineering frequently uses email or other forms of contact that cause the victim to feel a sense of urgency, panic, or another comparable emotion, prompting them to immediately divulge critical information, click a malicious link, or open a harmful file.
The term Distributed Denial of Service is abbreviated as DDoS. A DDoS assault is a deliberate attempt to prevent users from accessing a server or network resource. It is accomplished by overloading a service, which causes a brief suspension or interruption of the server. In most cases, a single computer is used in initiating a Denial of Service (DoS) attack to either target a software vulnerability or to saturate a specified resource with packets, requests, or queries.
Security Safeguards You Must Know About
Not surprisingly, 96% of email addresses receive phishing attack emails, which is concerning since it leaves firms exposed to data breaches. Malicious links, attachments, and malware will keep wreaking havoc on businesses as long as they exist in the system. In order to identify and address email risks like phishing or spoofing, email security should therefore be your top concern. We will shortly discuss the Zimbra security best practices to help you ramp up your Zimbra email security process. However, here we will share some most common security safeguards as well that you can implement even if you are not a Zimbra user. Here we go:
Set Up Email Security Protocols
Email security protocols essentially provide a company with more means to ward off hackers, greatly reducing the likelihood that employees will even be faced with such an issue. When it comes to email security, it’s imperative to plan ahead, and using the right approach is the key here. These standards prevent digital thieves from arbitrarily using brand names and hackers from thinking up clever email subject lines to draw readers into clicking the file. Additionally, it’s a great method for businesses to seem more trustworthy to outsiders. Everyone from consumers to suppliers will start to view a company as more trusted when organizations have a trustworthy mechanism to confirm that all outbound messages are secure.
Update your OS
Even while updates can be a pain, they are a necessary part of the email security game. In this regard, it’s worth noting that even a tiny vulnerability can lead to a massive threat. For instance, a negligible system vulnerability led to the WannaCry Ransom Attack, which impacted more than 200,000 computer systems before being fixed following an Operating System (OS) upgrade. However, if someone hadn’t updated their OS, they were still vulnerable to hacking. Keep an eye on your IT staff and keep all operating systems current. Email data breaches can be disastrous to a company’s reputation and profitability, since they frequently go undiscovered for weeks or months after they happen. It’s generally too late when you detect these compromises.
Run periodic email security audits
Even with all the security measures, what if the threat still managed to access your server and control your data? The only thing you can do is look into the breach and devise strategies to prevent it from doing more harm. When you come across a fake or harmful file, evaluate it to find any malicious activities or behavior. You can learn more about the malware’s activities or attempted activities on your network with the use of such analysis. Additionally, by comprehending the threat level, your security team will be able to prioritize and eliminate such risks.
Also read – Answering 7 FAQs on Zimbra Email Server
Zimbra Security best practices – Challenges & Preventive measures:
1. Viruses and Malware: The biggest threat for email accounts that comes from the Internet are viruses and malware, which has the potential to create sudden disruption to the whole business process. Work-related email accounts must incorporate anti-spam and antivirus software to keep the user protected from email viruses. Some of the prominent threats can be Trojan horses, Ransomware, Spyware, Worms, and Phishing. Always keep the computer software and browser updated to patch the new threats frequently.
Common Practices to help protect your Zimbra email account from viruses and Malware:
Use strong passwords:Keeping a strong and unique password, created using combinations of special characters, alphanumeric, and symbols up to the desired length, can help keep the email accounts safe.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Adding a second layer of safety to your account makes your email application more secure. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a combination of two security factors, such as a password with a mobile number, or a security token which then redirects the access code to the registered mobile number and makes it nearly impossible to get compromised by any hacker.
2. Establishing Secure Email Communications: Email communication requires certain levels of security to establish a secure email communication channel. The first important step is to inquire about the access points of the emails. It is ideally categorized as:
Home: Check whether the connection is secured and hard-wired internet or not.
Work: A secure Wi-Fi enabled and protected network or not.
On-the-Go: Public networks, such as one in the central library, railway stations, coffee shops are probably not a secure one and are the major factor of email interception. Thus, running a VPN application safeguards the data on a public network.
Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) suggests users to check the network preference settings on their computers to check the security of their network connections. If the preferred network is WPA2, then the network is secured. Also, the users can check the connection between their email providers and their systems to gain insights about network security.
3. Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Another major concern for most of the businesses is the loss or leak of the proprietary data dues to human negligence or the loose connectivity on either or both the inbound and outbound ends. Zimbra Mail Servers are protected by various DLP filters that ensure whether the employees are compliant with all the rules and regulations of their industry. It is always suggested to check the content of your mail before sending it to the authorized receiver.
Email and Internet Safety Checklist by Zimbra Email Security team:
- Use strong password combinations
- Verify each email account for a unique and strong password
- Enable 2FA for every email account
- Regular update of antivirus and browser software
- Never open emails from unknown senders and sources
- Never click unauthorized and suspicious links
- Scan the attachments before opening them
- Be selective and careful before downloading the links from the Internet
- Read licensing agreements carefully before installing any software
- Avoid clicking on Internet Ads
- Encrypt email communications as and when required
- Be cautious while using Public Wi-Fi connections
- Never share the proprietary company information with unknown sources
If you have gone through this post, you must have understood about these real issues and how to deal with them to protect the functionality of your email accounts.
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