Is your company sending out bogus emails to people around the world? It could be, and you may not even be aware of it. Every day, millions of people around the world are subject to email fraud of some kind. Even if you don’t open messages or click links in questionable emails, it doesn’t mean your company may not be suffering from fraud. Here are five ways this practice is costing your business.
1. Money Transfers
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CEO email scams contributed to more than $2 billion in lost funds in 2015. A large number of these scams target corporation management. Messages are sent with explicit instructions to spend money on certain purchases or transfer funds. Recipients follow the orders since they believe it is a direct order from the actual CEO. As a result, the money is moved and never seen again. In more severe instances, an email will cause a company to purchase another which may not even exist. In mere moments, hundreds of thousands of dollars may be spent with nothing to show for it.
2. Excessive Resource Use
A hacked website can easily send out thousands of emails per minute, which can exhaust your resources. Bandwidth and server usage are usually the first to be tapped when you are the victim of hosting an email scam. This means site speed begins to slow. In the event of a shared hosting server, it can cause a great deal of trouble for everyone. This is why many hosting companies will freeze an account that is “spamming” the worldwide web until it’s fixed. Otherwise, slow speed can then hurt SEO as well as losing legitimate visits on the website.
Four out of five online consumers attest that online reputation is significant when looking for a company for which to purchase goods. Fraudulent messages can quickly damage your reputation, and it will contribute to losing sales and leads. As nearly 90 percent of adults in the United States use social media, word of these fraudulent messages can spread rather quickly. It may take a long time to control the damage brought on by a single piece of malware.
4. Blacklisted Email Addresses
Some organizations report that nearly 75 percent of online messages traveling through a filter are spam. A large portion of these emails relate to phishing attacks trying to steal information. If blacklisting agencies identify your domain server as the culprit, you will no longer be able to send email to anyone. This means you no longer have the convenience of digital messages for clients and other services. Until the malware is found, you may find it difficult to contact anyone online. This kind of attack often relates to web servers or internal business computers.
5. IT Support Wages
One of the most costly aspects to fixing problems such as these is IT support expenses. Instead of your staff focusing on other tasks, they now have to track down the problem. This greatly reduces the efficiency of the business while costing you more money over time. Studies show that it costs more than $780 per instance of phishing from corporate IT specialists. Globally, companies will spend more than $28 billion in wages just to fix these kinds of problems.
How to Protect Yourself from Email Fraud Practices
As reported in the AppRiver’s second quarter Global Security Report, between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 the security firm had 4.2 billion malicious emails and 3.35 billion spam emails. It’s not enough to make sure that you don’t open the wrong email. Although keeping an eye on these messages can help prevent the malware from spreading or employees inadvertently offering information, security needs to be put into place. From securing the actual hardware to protecting the webpages from vulnerabilities, there are several ways you can stop hackers from using your business resources.
More than 80 percent of websites will experience some kind of vulnerability from the moment of development. Of these, 43 percent are cross-site scripting hacks. This is when hackers inject coding directly into webpages. These kinds of attacks make it easier for the criminal element to bypass access control systems. Malware protection and regular scanning can quickly find these bits of code and keep them from hurting the business.
Stronger Authentication Practices
Brute force attacks and other login vulnerabilities make up a large number of problems for organizations each year. According to research, it takes the average company more than 120 days to fix these kinds of insufficient authentication problems. Implementing stronger security for usernames and passwords greatly reduces this risk.
Securing the Database
On average, approximately 17 percent of hacking focuses on database SQL injection. This is when a hacker injects code into data applications and websites. Its primary purpose is to dump the contents of the database to the hacker. This means he or she can have immediate access to all information within that database, such as email lists and contact information. Security measures to shield the database will greatly prevent most of these kinds of attacks.
Implementing Secured Socket Layers
Secured socket layers, or SSL, is a method which encrypts information on the website. Essentially, it creates a secure connection from your webpages to the visitor. Using SSL reduces the likelihood of hijacking information while it’s in transit. Offering SSL can reduce a large number of fraudulent email attacks. Additionally, it boosts search results for your site as engines like Google rate secure websites higher.
Prevent Information Leakage
Weaknesses in online applications and websites may allow hackers to gain access to pertinent information. This can lead to further exploits that can give someone access to the website as a whole, the hosting platform or steal information from its users. According to statistics, at least 51 percent of analyzed websites had information leakage of some kind. It’s one of the primary vulnerabilities on the Internet today. Stronger security practices, SSL certificates, complex passwords and endpoint security are ways to avoid this problem. If you have a Bring-Your-Own-Device practice in the company, make sure all employees use secure software before connecting to the business network.
Protect from Content Spoofing
More than 30 percent of surveyed websites were guilty of content spoofing. This is when a hacker will create a website which looks legitimate on your server. For example, a lawn care company could be showing PayPal spoof pages that look like the real thing. The design of these spoof pages is to steal login information and email addresses. Regular malware scanning can put an end to this kind of activity. Using applications, such as Sitelock, can keep files safe from being compromised or changed. With measures like this, you don’t have to worry about your webpages being used to dupe unsuspecting visitors.
Protecting the company from fraud is a full-time task. Luckily, there are methods you can implement that will secure the website from hackers and bots trying to take advantage of the company. The best way to avoid being a victim is to prevent the situation in the first place. Never assume that your current security practices are enough. You may just find out for yourself how damaging fraudulent email can be for the organization.