When it comes to keeping your business safe from cyber threats, your email systems must be the place to start.

According to research by Verizon, 94 per cent of malware that arrives on a PC enters via email, while targeted phishing efforts looking to steal key credentials such as login details or financial information can give hackers openings into a wide variety of systems.

Hackers are well aware of how lucrative these attack methods are, so have put large efforts into developing ever-more sophisticated means of tricking employees into handing over data or downloading malware. Click here to see the 3 Dangerous Types of Email Attacks You Need to Know about.

While traditional email defences such as security gateways can pick up more basic types of attack, they may struggle to identify more complex, personalised attempts, such as highly-targeted spear-phishing efforts.

This is where the latest technologies are proving to be highly useful. And one of the most important weapons for any business to have in their defensive arsenal is artificial intelligence (AI).

How AI can protect your Email

One of the major differences between AI and other types of email defences is that it has full access to each individual’s inbox. This means it can see clearly exactly what their email activity should look like.

It can then quickly compare incoming communications to the known profile of an individual’s inbox to determine if the messages fit recognised patterns, allowing it to spot targeted attacks such as executive and brand impersonations before the user has a chance to be fooled by them.

For example, if a message purports to be from a trusted application partner such as Microsoft 365, but the domain name does not match previous communications from this provider, this will raise a red flag that could well be missed by traditional secure email gateways.

They can also look for unusual language within emails or identify any internal messages that come from people an employee does not normally communicate with.

This can all be done without human intervention. What’s more, thanks to machine learning technologies, as the solutions build up a larger and more detailed picture of what genuine emails look like, they will become more accurate at spotting and blocking suspicious activity. This means fewer false positives or unnecessary disruptions.

Automation offers faster responses

If these tools do detect malicious emails within their system, firms need to react quickly. After all, it’s unlikely that hackers will be targeting just one user, so you need to react to alert other employees about what to look out for.

AI tools can help with this by automatically scanning the rest of the company’s inboxes for similar malicious messages and identifying other potentially affected users in an instant.

This allows the business to take any necessary mitigations, from instantly removing malicious email from users’ inboxes to notifying them of the need to change passwords in case they have already been tricked into handing over credentials.

These are all essential elements of a layered email defences system, which is essential if firms are to successfully combat the threats posed by cyber-attacks.

Download the Essential Guide to Email Security

We have released an Essential Guide to Email Security where you can learn how to defend your firm from email threats.

View The Essential Guide to Email Security

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