No One’s Off Limits: The Increasing Value of Email Encryption

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The Amazon email scam, which involves hackers sending malicious emails to Amazon users in an attempt to access their cryptocurrency (encrypted digital currency like Bitcoin), is a reminder that no one is off limits. While certainly not every person or business who uses cryptocurrency is a technological genius, it’s probably fair assumption that anyone trading in Bitcoins or altcoins is likely a little further ahead of the pack than the average person who shops online with their credit card.

With analysts estimating that more than 108 billion emails are sent and received each day, email is a perfect target for hackers. For businesses, email is still by far the most prolific form of communication and email by default is not secure. In fact, these days it’s about as secure as sending a postcard in the mail.

As email encryption solutions become more ubiquitous out of necessity, many of these types of scams will be put to rest. We would like to believe that one day it will be easier to tell the scams from the legitimate requests because email encryption will become the de facto business standard. At the very least, emails related to monetary transactions will be sent encrypted.

Most products on the market, including ours, outline that the message you are receiving is encrypted and secure. More than that, encrypted messages should clearly identify who is sending the message, including their email address, and from which organization. This level of detail is critical and the absence of it should raise red flags. In the Amazon scam, very little information is provided in the email. The message appears as a generic order confirmation with an attached Word document. Opening the document unleashes malware on the users’ machine that attempts to steal passwords and searches for cryptocurrency.

So what can businesses do to protect themselves and their customers from hackers, malware and just plain human error?

  • Do use an email encryption solution. Not only will it help protect your data and your customers’ data, it will help you build a reputation of trust and security.
  • Make sure the solution is branded to your email environment and sender’s details are included in every secure message so it is clear where the messages are coming from.
  • Look for a solution that allows for secure attachments and file sharing.
  • Find one that integrates with your existing technology systems and that works inside regular email so employees don’t have to log into a new system to send a message securely.

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