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Predict, Prevent, Protect: Using Attack Simulations to Avoid Email Breaches

Email breaches are a rising and severe risk in today's digital world. Cybercriminals, armed with advanced techniques, are threatening the security of email communications across all sectors.

a man holding a shield with the words using attack simulators to avoid email breach

I. Introduction

Email breaches are a rising and severe risk in today's digital world. Cybercriminals, armed with advanced techniques, are threatening the security of email communications across all sectors, from small and medium businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises, government agencies, and hospitals. These attacks target everyone, from C-level executives to IT security personnel. It's estimated that these breaches have caused losses of $10.5 trillion annually, affecting nearly 70% of organizations worldwide. Therefore, we must focus on reducing these threats and preparing for future ones.

In this blog, we'll delve into the working flow of an attack simulation, its significance, and how it stands apart from other security methods like penetration testing. By this article's end, you'll learn more about how an attack simulation can bolster your organization's email security posture.

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II. The Impact of Email Attacks

In an increasingly interconnected world, email remains the lifeblood of corporate communication. On a broader scale, the impact of email attacks is felt globally. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime, driven mainly by phishing and other email-based attacks, will cost the world 13.82 trillion U.S. dollars by 2028. These costs are direct financial losses due to theft, operational disruptions, reputational damage, and recovery efforts.

We'll examine the prevalence and effectiveness of such threats. A startling statistic reveals that 82% of soft threats bypass secure gateway solutions. This demonstrates a glaring issue within traditional security architectures, as they cannot counter advanced threats that evade detection. As cybercriminals continue to evolve, a robust defense strategy is critical.

This WannaCry ransomware attack was initially spread through phishing emails, affecting over 200,000 computers across 150 countries. The economic damage caused by WannaCry was estimated at $4 billion.

Another real-world instance that emphasizes the impact of email attacks is the attack on Maersk, the world's largest shipping company. In 2017, the NotPetya malware spread through an infected email attachment, taking down Maersk's IT infrastructure. The company had to reinstall an incredible 45,000 PCs, 4,000 servers, and 2,500 applications. The cost to Maersk was a staggering $300 million in lost revenues.

These cases underline that the risks associated with email threats extend far beyond just financial loss. Companies often suffer long-lasting reputational damage and loss of customer trust, which can be much more devastating and brutal to recover from than the immediate financial implications.

III. The 'Predict, Prevent, Protect' Approach as the Solution

The continuous email threats call for an agile and comprehensive solution to anticipate, stop, and mitigate potential attacks. The "Predict, Prevent, Protect" strategy, built on three critical pillars, not only presents a robust defense framework but also demonstrates it can elevate your cybersecurity strategy:

Predict:

In the predictive stage, the power of threat intelligence, data analysis, and predictive modeling comes into play. The aim is to anticipate potential email threats, which equips security teams to adapt and strengthen their defenses proactively. In this context, attack simulations serve as a valuable tool, replicating the tactics of potential threats in a controlled environment to identify vulnerabilities before malicious actors can exploit them.

Prevent:

The next crucial step is prevention. Implementing proactive measures such as regular audits and deploying advanced security controls can stop attacks, preventing extensive damage. Dealing with a breach can be harmful to your reputation. Attack simulations offer a unique preventative advantage by constantly testing your security measures against potential threats.

Protect:

The final pillar is protection, which becomes vital when some attacks penetrate your preventative measures. By deploying robust defenses, you can safeguard your systems and data, minimizing the impact of a successful attack and accelerating the recovery process. Here again,the insights gained from attack simulations enable organizations to reinforce their protection strategies, ensuring the best possible response to any successful threat.

When integrated seamlessly, these three stages form a comprehensive defense strategy. This approach empowers organizations to secure their digital assets effectively, preserving their operational integrity and reputation. The addition of attack simulations to this framework enhances its efficacy, enabling organizations to continuously test, learn from, and adapt their defenses, making them more robust and resilient against evolving threats.

Therefore, you invest wisely by incorporating attack simulations and adopting this "Predict, Prevent, Protect" strategy. This approach boosts your organization's cybersecurity posture and prepares it for the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats.

IV. The Role of Keepnet Email Threat Simulator

Keepnet’s Email Threat Simulator (ETS) is an attack simulation designed for email security. ETS emulates real-world attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), identifies vulnerabilities, and assesses the efficacy of your email defenses such as Sandbox, Antispam, Firewall, and other secure gateway solutions.

The ETS works by continuously testing the defenses of your secure email gateway solutions, including Office 365 and Google Workspace. It does this by sending over 700 real-world attack scenarios to a dedicated test inbox, simulating the tactics used by cybercriminals. This process allows the ETS to identify how many attacks can bypass your Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) and pinpoint any existing vulnerabilities.

Businesses can proactively improve their defenses and remediate any issues by identifying these vulnerabilities. This optimizes their technological investments and significantly enhances their overall email security posture. The ETS can boost email blocking efficiency from a mere 28% to an impressive 96%, providing businesses robust protection against email threats.

Moreover, the ETS offers features such as malicious attachment simulation, ransomware simulation, APT attack simulation, and file format exploit testing. These features allow businesses to assess their susceptibility to various types of attacks and take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

The ETS also provides detailed reporting, allowing businesses to monitor their email security over time. These reports include suggestions for quickly fixing identified vulnerabilities, enabling companies to continually improve their defenses and readiness against email attacks.

V. Conclusion

To implement attack simulations in your cybersecurity strategy, the first step is to choose a robust solution that offers diverse simulated attack scenarios and provides comprehensive results reporting. This solution should integrate seamlessly into your security infrastructure, enabling automated testing processes and tracking improvements over time.

Remember, attack simulations aren't a one-and-done solution. The rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats demands continuous testing and constant improvements for maintaining a resilient security posture.

Watch the online demo of ETS and see how it can test your secure gateway solutions and identify vulnerabilities to help you fix them.

Next Steps

Don't leave your business vulnerable to email threats. Take the first step towards securing your email systems with Keepnet Labs' Email Threat Simulator. Sign up for our FREE 15-day trial today!

During this trial, you'll see firsthand how our solution can protect your business by identifying and addressing email vulnerabilities. You'll experience how our real-world attack simulations can test your defenses and uncover your Secure Email Gateways weaknesses.

Don't wait until a threat strikes. Discover how Keepnet Labs can fortify your defenses, optimize your technological investments, and safeguard your business against email threats.

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