Email Marketing Complements Cyber Forensics

Email Marketing Complements Cyber Forensics

August 13, 2018 Default 0

Email marketing and cyber forensics

The power of email

According to statistics[link: https://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-c… ], 205 billion email messages are sent around the world every, single day – that translates into almost 2.4 million emails per second and some 74 trillion emails dispatched every year. Email is undoubtedly one of the most powerful forms of communication. The speed, ease, cost-effectiveness and relative anonymity make it the preferred communication tool globally; this can be a double-edged sword, because of the same reasons it is also misused by cybercriminals.

The rise of cybercrime

The boom of ecommerce has seen an escalation in worldwide cyber-attacks. Financial institutions are no longer the prime targets; all companies regardless of size and sector are vulnerable. IT security has dominated headlines and closer scrutiny reveals that firewalls and perimeters are no longer sufficient in combating cyber crime. These measures have not hampered email becoming an accessible gateway for many cybercriminals.

Security researchers say that email is the riskiest vector facing organisations because of the escalating email-related threats [link: https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252442905/Email-based-cyber-attacks-gathering-momentum ]. The most common threats include: spam, email spoofing (phishing is the most popular method), corporate email compromise, ransomware, banking trojans, social engineering and information-stealing malware.

Every organisation should take email-borne threats seriously. Innocent email attachments can carry malware capable of infecting a company’s entire computer system. Most businesses rely on email as an integral part of their day-to-day operations, and statistics consistently show that 90% of cyber-attacks are perpetrated via email.

Companies aren’t the only victims; a disturbing trend emerging over the last few years indicates that consumers are becoming increasingly affected.

Email marketing abused for crime

Email marketing is arguably the most effective platform for reaching customers, and that is why many cybercriminals today adopt copycat tactics of email marketing strategies to target their potential victims.

IT security firms reveal that phishing and spamming is most commonly used.

90% of email cybercrimes are phishing scams. Phishing emails are sent by criminals posing as a legitimate institution (usually a bank) to lure individuals into sending sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. Criminals then use this information to access accounts, resulting in financial loss or identity theft.

Cybercriminals are adopting new and innovative techniques of using email marketing – many perform ‘test audiences’ on the phishing emails to establish their effectiveness.

To be effective they must be able to convince victims to open their emails and to click on specific links. These criminals try to profile the audience by sending out small bursts of traffic to samples of their desired audience by using various templates with different content. They then assess the success rate for the templates and select the most successful version for the main email burst.

Spam involves the sending of unsolicited and unwanted emails to a large volume of users for marketing purposes, spam is usually an annoying inconvenience, it can be dangerous when used for phishing or sending malware.

Mitigate the risks

Cyber security is top of mind for customers. There’s no way around it. Ignoring the growing concern of security can lead to mistrust and irreparable damage to the relationship with the client. Cyber security is crucial component of any marketing strategy.

Proactive email marketing

Cyber literacy is key for email marketers to be a step ahead of would-be criminals.

Platforms like Aweber or GetResponse are examples of email marketing companies who have taken proactive steps in mitigating possible threats. They do this by:

  • Vetting the security of external solutions
  • Setting parameters on the data privileges of external apps

In addition to this, both platforms make use of stringent anti-spam policies.

Clients using Aweber are required to answer questions on how the collected data is imported. Large lists are reviewed by Aweber’s anti-spam compliance team.

Hosts also need to be verified before bulk emails are sent out.

Getresponse  also has a strict anti-spam policy (https://www.getresponse.com/legal/antispam.html)