What is email security? - IdentityTheft.org (2023)

Email security refers to various techniques and methods used to protect email content and accounts from unauthorized access, loss, or compromise. Being one of the main means of electronic communication, especially in business contexts, email is a frequent target of hackers and cybercriminals.

(Video) Email Security: What Is It and Why It Matters for Your Business?

There are many elements involved in email security:

  • Authentication:This is used to verify that an email is really from the sender it is supposed to be. Techniques such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) are used to prevent email spoofing.
  • Cryptography:This is the process of encoding messages or information so that only authorized people can access them. Encryption is used to protect the privacy of email content. There are two types of email encryption: TLS (Transport Layer Security) and end-to-end encryption. TLS encrypts the connection over which the email is sent, while end-to-end encryption encrypts the actual content of the email.
  • Antivírus/antimalware:These are software programs designed to prevent, scan for, detect and remove software viruses and other malicious software such asworms, Trojans,adware, etc
  • Spam filters:These are programs that detect spam and junk mail and prevent these messages from being received in the user's inbox.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP):These are tools and processes used to ensure that sensitive data is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized users.
  • Security awareness training:Refers to training given to employees to inform them about the different types of email threats and how to recognize and deal with them.

Email security is vital as it helps protect sensitive personal and business information from threats such as phishing, malware, spam anddata breach. It is an important aspect of a broader cybersecurity strategy.

(Video) Phishing Emails and Identity Theft

What are the benefits of email security?

Email security has many important benefits, particularly in the context of business operations, but also for individual users:

  • Protection against phishing and scams:Cybercriminals often use phishing emails to trick recipients into revealing confidential information or unwittingly installing malware. A strong email security system can help detect and filter thesee-mails de phishing..
  • Protection of confidential information:The email often contains confidential personal or business information. Encryption, an aspect of email security, can ensure that only the intended recipient can read email content, which is vital for protecting privacy and complying with data protection regulations.
  • Spam Prevention:An effective email security system can significantly reduce the amount of spam or junk email that reaches a user's inbox. This not only helps improve productivity by eliminating unnecessary emails, but also reduces the risk of phishing ormalware attacks.
  • Data breach prevention:By securing email accounts and preventing unauthorized access, email security can prevent data breaches that can have serious financial and reputational consequences for businesses.
  • Maintain business continuity:By preventing phishing, ransomware and other email-based attacks, email security ensures that business operations are not interrupted by such threats.
  • Regulatory compliance:Many industries have strict regulations regarding data security. Securing email communications can help companies comply with these regulations while avoiding penalties and fines.
  • Maintaining brand reputation:Companies that experience data breaches or leaks often face reputational damage. A strong email security posture helps protect your company's image and customer trust.
  • Increasing user confidence:For individuals, knowing their email is secure can provide peace of mind. For businesses, demonstrating strong email security can increase customers' confidence in the company's overall security measures.

In a world where a significant amount of communication is done via email, ensuring that this communication channel is secure is critical. Email security not only protects sensitive data, but also contributes to the overall health and integrity of an individual's or organization's digital environment.

(Video) Online Identity Theft (Cyber Security)

Types of email threats

Email threats are numerous and varied and can evolve rapidly as attackers develop new techniques and strategies. Here are some of the most common email-related threats:

  • Spam:These are spam emails, usually sent in bulk, that can fill up an inbox and make it difficult to find legitimate messages. While most spam is relatively harmless (albeit annoying), some spam can contain malicious links or attachments.
  • Phishing:This is a form of fraud where the attacker pretends to be a trusted entity or person to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency or fear to demand action.
  • Spear Phishing:This is a more targeted form of phishing, where the attacker has researched the victim and tailored the email specifically for them. These attacks can be very convincing and therefore dangerous.
  • Whaling:This is a specific formatunderwater fishingwhataimed at senior executiveswithin a business. The objective is usually to trick the executive into authorizing high-value transactions or revealing confidential corporate information.
  • Business Email Commitment (BEC):In these attacks, an attacker compromises a corporate email account and uses it to authorize fraudulent transactions. Since the email comes from a legitimate account, it can be difficult to trace.
  • Ransomware:Some emails may contain malware that, once downloaded, encrypts the user's files andrequires payment(usually in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) to unlock them.
  • Malware distribution:Email is a common distribution method for all types of malware, including viruses, worms andYou eat. Malware can be contained in an email attachment or downloaded when the user clicks on a link in the email.
  • Email spoofing:This is the practice of changing the sender address in an email to make it look like it comes from someone else. Spoofing is often used in phishing or spam campaigns to make emails appear more legitimate.
  • Denial of Service (DoS):Although not as common, e-mail can be used as a means ofDoS attacks, where the attacker sends so many emails that the recipient's email service or server is overloaded and cannot function properly.

By being aware of these threats, you can take steps to protect yourself and your organization and respond effectively if you fall victim to an email attack.

(Video) Identity Theft Explained - And What To Do About It

Email security services

There are many email security services available, offering a variety of features to help protect against spam, phishing, malware and other threats. These services often include spam filtering, phishing protection, email encryption, and more.

Here are some examples of email security services:

(Video) What is Identity Theft?

  • Evidence:Proofpoint offers an advanced email security platform that protects against a variety of threats including phishing, malware and ransomware. It uses machine learning to detect threats and offers powerful reporting tools.
  • Barracuda Email Security Gateway:This is a comprehensive email security platform that protects against spam, phishing and ransomware. It includes outbound filtering to prevent data loss and email encryption to keep confidential information safe.
  • Mimecast:Mimecast provides a cloud-based email security service that protects against threats such as malware, spam and phishing. It offers targeted threat protection, data leak prevention, and secure messaging.
  • Cisco Email Security:Cisco offers an email security solution as part of its broader cybersecurity suite. It protects against phishing, commercial email hacking, and ransomware, and includes data loss prevention features.
  • Trend Micro Email Security:This is a cloud-based email security solution that uses machine learning and other advanced technologies to protect against spam, phishing, and malware. It also offers data protection features.
  • Symantec Email Security.cloud:Now part of Broadcom, Symantec's Email Security.cloud provides protection against email threats and data loss. It uses advanced analytics to detect threats and offers email encryption.
  • Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP):For businesses using Office 365, Microsoft's ATP service provides additional protection against email-based threats, including sophisticated attacks like spear-phishing and zero-day malware.
  • ZixMail:This is an email encryption service that ensures emails remain confidential and beyond reproach in transit. It is useful for companies that need to comply with data protection regulations.

When choosing an email security service, it's important to consider your organization's specific needs, including compliance requirements, the size of your company, and your budget. It's also a good idea to look for a service that offers strong customer support and easy integration with your existing email system.

Relevant articles:

  1. What is Spam?
  2. What are cyber attacks?
  3. The best antivirus software
  4. What is Spear Phishing?
(Video) Aura Digital Safety App Review | Identity Theft Protection


Is IdentityTheft gov a legit site? ›

IdentityTheft.gov is the federal government's one-stop resource for identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft for prevention tips and free resources to share in your community.

How can I find out if someone opened an account in my name? ›

The best way to find out if someone has opened an account in your name is to pull your own credit reports to check. Note that you'll need to pull your credit reports from all three bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — to check for fraud since each report may have different information and reporting.

What is identity theft email? ›

Suspicious email/phishing

Phishing (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims) is a scam where Internet fraudsters send email messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims' identity.

How can I find out if someone is using my Social Security number? ›

Review the earnings posted to your record on your Social Security Statement and report any inconsistencies to us. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-908-4490 or visit them online, if you believe someone is using your SSN to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes.

Can someone steal your SSN online? ›

With your SSN and other personal information easily found online, scammers can commit credit card fraud, open new accounts, and receive medical care in your name — as well as divert your Social Security benefits.

What are the 3 types of identity theft? ›

The three most common types of identity theft are financial, medical and online.

Can someone access your bank account with your name and email? ›

It's also possible hackers could use your email account to gain access to your bank account or credit card information, draining funds from an account, or racking up charges. They might even use your email and password to sign up for online sites and services, sticking you with monthly fees in the process.

Can someone open a credit card in my name without my Social Security number? ›

An identity thief would have to obtain personal details such as your name, birthdate and Social Security number in order to open a credit card in your name. However, it is a federal crime to do this, and it can result in jail time when the thief is caught for their behavior.

Can someone take out a loan in my name without me knowing? ›

If anyone, including a spouse, family member, or intimate partner, uses your personal information to open up an account in your name without your permission, this could be considered identify theft.

What is the most common method used to steal your identity? ›

Physical Theft: examples of this would be dumpster diving, mail theft, skimming, change of address, reshipping, government records, identity consolidation. Technology-Based: examples of this are phishing, pharming, DNS Cache Poisoning, wardriving, spyware, malware and viruses.

What information does a scammer need to access my bank account? ›

The easiest way to become a victim of a bank scam is to share your banking info — e.g., account numbers, PIN codes, social security number — with someone you don't know well and trust. If someone asks for sensitive banking details, proceed with caution.

What information can a hacker get from my email? ›

Hackers know the value of your email account. Once they're in, they can use it to gain access to your bank account, social media profiles, and other sensitive online accounts. Don't ignore the signs of a hacked inbox. If anything looks suspicious or you suddenly can't log in, act fast!

How do you know if you are a victim of identity theft? ›

Checking your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion can help pinpoint the problem. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allows U.S. consumers to get a free credit report every 12 months.

What can someone do with the last 4 digits of your SSN? ›

As long as a hacker or scammer has access to other personal information such as your name and address, they can use the last four digits of your SSN (in most cases) to open accounts in your name, steal your money and government benefits, or even get healthcare and tax refunds in your name.

What if my scammer has my Social Security number? ›

If someone uses your SSN to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts, or other goods and services, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen.

How do I put a lock on my Social Security number? ›

This is done by calling our National 800 number (Toll Free 1-800-772-1213 or at our TTY number at 1-800-325-0778). Once requested, any automated telephone and electronic access to your Social Security record is blocked.

How can I protect my SSN from identity theft? ›

There are measures you can take to help prevent further unauthorized use of your SSN and other personal information. You can lock your SSN by calling the Social Security Administration or by creating an E-Verify account. Also, you can contact all three of the nationwide CRAs to place a freeze on your credit reports.

Can you change your SSN? ›

You can't change your Social Security number simply because your card has been lost or stolen, or to avoid bankruptcy or legitimate debts. The only other reasons Social Security will consider assigning a new number are: Sequential numbers assigned to members of your family are causing confusion.

What are 2 things you should do if your identity is stolen? ›

Change the passwords, pin numbers, and log in information for all of your potentially affected accounts, including your email accounts, and any accounts that use the same password, pin, or log in information. Contact your police department, report the crime and obtain a police report.

What are 2 ways your identity can be stolen? ›

A thief might: steal your mail or garbage to get your account numbers or your Social Security number. trick you into sending personal information in an email. steal your account numbers from a business or medical office.

What are the 4 steps to take if your identity is stolen? ›

Quick Answer
  • See if you have identity theft insurance.
  • Contact the relevant companies.
  • Report the theft to the FTC and the police.
  • Add a fraud alert to your credit reports.
  • Freeze your consumer reports.
Dec 29, 2022

Should I delete my email if it was hacked? ›

Should I delete my email after it's hacked? No, don't delete your email, even after it's been hacked. This is because most email providers will recycle old and deleted email addresses. If you're concerned, stop using your email for sending or receiving messages, but don't delete it.

Can someone hack my email without my password? ›

Yes, your email account can be hacked without a password if you click on a malicious link, download an infected attachment, or use a compromised public Wi-Fi network. Hackers use these methods to access your email account and steal your personal information or send spam messages from your account.

How do I know if my IP address has been hacked? ›

Here are more possible signs that a hacker may have successfully targeted your computer:
  • You can't update your system. ...
  • Your computer runs slower than usual. ...
  • A big-name company was hacked. ...
  • You notice unusual disk activity. ...
  • Your antivirus software becomes disabled. ...
  • Strange things are happening onscreen.

Can someone use my credit card with just the number and CVV? ›

Is it possible for someone to use your debit or credit card with just the card number and the CVV? Yes, this type of fraud is known as "card-not-present" fraud, as the thief does not have possession of the physical card. This type of fraud is becoming more common with the rise of online shopping and e-commerce.

How do I stop someone from applying for credit in my name? ›

Place when you've had your identity stolen and completed an FTC identity theft report at IdentityTheft.gov or filed a police report. It makes it harder for someone to open a new credit account in your name and removes you from unsolicited credit and insurance offers for 5 years. It's free and lasts 7 years.

How do I find out what bank accounts are in my name? ›

Your credit report will display every open account in your name, from bank accounts to credit cards and so much more. Every year, you can request one free copy of your credit reports from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. All you have to do is go online and visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

What if my name is on the loan but not the deed? ›

If your name is on the mortgage, but not the deed, this means that you are not an owner of the home. Rather, you are simply a co-signer on the mortgage. Because your name is on the mortgage, you are obligated to pay the payments on the loan just as the individual who owns the home.

What is loan flipping? ›

How loan flipping works. The typical situation involves a lender that coaxes and convinces a homeowner to repeatedly refinance their mortgage while also persuading them to borrow more money each time.

How do you check if someone has taken a loan out in your name? ›

Check your credit score regularly

If a loan has been obtained fraudulently against your PAN, it will also reflect on the report. Regularly checking your credit report can help you keep a track of such mishaps and drive you to take corrective action.

What is the number one cause of identity theft? ›

Data breaches that expose your passwords and sensitive data. Data breaches are the leading causes of identity theft. As of October 2022, there were 1,291 data breaches with over 160 million victims [*]. Data breaches take place when hackers break into services that you use and steal your stored information.

Who is most at risk for identity theft? ›

The answer may surprise you – while everyone should be aware of identity theft, children and the elderly are at an especially high risk of becoming victims.

What are 3 steps to take after identity has been stolen? ›

If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft, complete these tasks as soon as possible and document everything you do.
  1. Call your bank and other companies where fraud occurred. ...
  2. Contact a credit agency to place a fraud alert. ...
  3. Create an Identity Theft Affidavit. ...
  4. File a report with your local police department.
Feb 24, 2023

Can someone access my bank account with my phone number? ›

Once hackers have your number, they can use it to gain access to your most sensitive and valuable data, such as your: Email accounts and contact lists. Financial assets and bank accounts. Current and previous home addresses.

Do banks refund money if scammed? ›

Contact your bank immediately to let them know what's happened and ask if you can get a refund. Most banks should reimburse you if you've transferred money to someone because of a scam.

Who can access my bank account without my permission? ›

Only the account holder has the right to access their bank account. If you have a joint bank account, you both own the account and have access to the funds. But in the case of a personal bank account, your spouse has no legal right to access it.

Will changing my email password stop hackers? ›

Changing your passwords may not mitigate all the damage from malware or a successful phishing expedition. Still, it can keep future attackers or scammers from accessing your accounts or impersonating you further. Use a different device from the affected one to change your account password.

How did a hacker get my email and password? ›

Malware on your computer

With the help of a kind of spyware known as a keylogger program, you are tracked while typing on the infected device. By recording your keystrokes, the hacker can steal your passwords and other sensitive data and use it to access your accounts, including email, social media and online banking.

What happens if you answer a hacked email? ›

First, replying to a phishing email provides the scammer with a copy of your company's email signature, which might include phone numbers and other information. This signature could enable them to craft more convincing spearphishing templates, as well as giving them more potential targets.

How do you check if my SSN is being used? ›

To see if someone's using your SSN, check your credit report. You can check it online through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. Or you can call their phone number at 1-877-322-8228 to request your free copy.

How do I check to see if someone is using my Social Security number? ›

Review the earnings posted to your record on your Social Security Statement and report any inconsistencies to us. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-908-4490 or visit them online, if you believe someone is using your SSN to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes.

What do the 2 middle numbers in Social Security mean? ›

Within each area, the group number (middle two (2) digits) range from 01 to 99 but are not assigned in consecutive order. For administrative reasons, group numbers issued first consist of the ODD numbers from 01 through 09 and then EVEN numbers from 10 through 98, within each area number allocated to a State.

Is the last 4 digits of SSN used to verify your identity? ›

The last 4 digit of your social security number is one of the data elements we can use to verify your identity. This is analogous to setting up a new bank account or a merchant account with a Payment Facilitator like PayPal, Square or Stripe.

Can someone else have the same last 4 digits of SSN? ›

However, the probability of having the same last 4 digits of the Social Security Number as someone else is far higher than one would expect: Out of 119 people, there is a 50% chance that two of them will have the same last 4 digits in their SSN.

Should you give out your SSN over the phone? ›

You should never provide your SSN to someone you don't know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the Internet. In general, don't give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.

Can someone use my Social Security number with their name? ›

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. A dishonest person who has your Social Security number can use it to get other personal information about you. Identity thieves can use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name.

What government website will help you if your identity is stolen? ›

Consumers can report identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov, the federal government's one-stop resource to help people report and recover from identity theft.

What is the website for identity theft? ›

How to report ID theft. To report identity theft, contact: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. The three major credit reporting agencies.

Is it safe to use SSA website? ›

SSA. A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. A lock ( A locked padlock ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

How can I find out if someone is using my identity for free? ›

An identity thief could use your information to get credit or service in your name. How to spot it: Get your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Review it for accounts you didn't open or inquiries you don't recognize. A new credit card, a personal loan, or a car loan will appear as a new account.

What are 3 steps you should take if you believe your identity has been compromised? ›

Contact your police department, report the crime and obtain a police report. Decide whether you want to place a security freeze on your credit report.

How do I lock my Social Security number? ›

If you know your Social Security information has been compromised, you can request to Block Electronic Access. This is done by calling our National 800 number (Toll Free 1-800-772-1213 or at our TTY number at 1-800-325-0778).

How do I get rid of identity theft? ›

If you've been a victim of identity theft, you can also get credit reporting companies to remove fraudulent information and debts from your credit report, which is called blocking. To do this, you must send the credit reporting companies: An identity theft report, which can be done through IdentityTheft.gov.

What information would an identity theft be looking for? ›

What they want are account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards. Identity thieves can take out loans or obtain credit cards and even driver's licenses in your name.

How can I protect myself from online identity theft? ›

Four simple ways to help protect your identity online
  1. Be defensive with sensitive information. Don't put sensitive information in email, social media, or text messages. ...
  2. Create strong passwords and keep them secret. ...
  3. Protect your accounts and your credit. ...
  4. Boost your computer's security.

How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

To acquire the full amount, you need to maximize your working life and begin collecting your check until age 70. Another way to maximize your check is by asking for a raise every two or three years. Moving companies throughout your career is another way to prove your worth, and generate more money.

Does SSA send emails? ›

Yes, we may send you an email after a discussion with you that was either in person or over the phone, or, after completion of an online action. We also send informational emails about our online services.

Does Social Security ever contact you by email? ›

In an effort to combat such scams, we want to make one thing perfectly clear: Social Security will not send you an email asking you to give us your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or other private information.

Can someone open a bank account in your name without you knowing? ›

This person may be the actual fraudster or someone the criminal has manipulated into acting as a front for the fraud. The accounts are then used to either launder money or commit future fraud. Criminals use stolen credentials and personal data to open accounts in the names of individuals without their knowledge.

How do you tell if your identity has been hacked? ›

How To Know If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
  1. Mistakes or strange accounts on your credit report.
  2. Suspicious activity on your credit card and bank statements.
  3. Unexpected (or missing) physical mail.
  4. Lost or stolen documents and ID.
  5. Unexpected phone calls or visits from debt collectors.
May 11, 2023


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