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Google & Yahoo’s New DMARC Policy Shows Why Businesses Need Email Authentication… Now

Cartoon envelope and thiefHave you been hearing more about email authentication lately? There is a reason for that. It’s the prevalence of phishing as a major security threat. Phishing continues as the main cause of data breaches and security incidents. This has been the case for many years.

A major shift in the email landscape is happening. The reason is to combat phishing scams. Email authentication is becoming a requirement for email service providers. It’s crucial to your online presence and communication to pay attention to this shift.

At SolaaS we understand that sometimes you can feel lost in the technical jargon of how emails work, but we hope the article below helps explain the importance of email authentication. If you get to the end and feel even more confused, then please give us a call and we’d be happy to help answer any questions you have.

Google and Yahoo are two of the world’s largest email providers. They have implemented a new DMARC policy that took effect in February 2024. This policy essentially makes email authentication essential. It’s targeted at businesses sending emails through Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

But what’s DMARC, and why is it suddenly so important? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the world of email authentication. We’ll help you understand why it’s more critical than ever for your business.

The Email Spoofing Problem

Imagine receiving an email seemingly from your bank. It requests urgent action. You click a link, enter your details, and boom – your information is compromised.

The common name for this is email spoofing. It’s where scammers disguise their email addresses. They try to appear as legitimate individuals or organizations. Scammers spoof a business’s email address. Then they email customers and vendors pretending to be that business.

These deceptive tactics can have devastating consequences on companies. These include:

  • Financial losses

 

  • Reputational damage

 

  • Data breaches

 

  • Loss of future business

 

Unfortunately, email spoofing is a growing problem. It makes email authentication a critical defense measure.

What is Email Authentication?

Email authentication is a way of verifying that your email is legitimate. This includes verifying the server sending the email. It also includes reporting back unauthorized uses of a company domain.

Email authentication uses three key protocols, and each has a specific job:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Records the IP addresses authorized to send email for a domain.

 

  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): Allows domain owners to digitally “sign” emails, verifying legitimacy.

 

  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): Gives instructions to a receiving email server. Including, what to do with the results of an SPF and DKIM check. It also alerts domain owners that their domain is being spoofed.

 

SPF and DKIM are protective steps. DMARC provides information critical to security enforcement. It helps keep scammers from using your domain name in spoofing attempts.

Here’s how it works:

  • You set up a DMARC record in your domain server settings. This record informs email receivers (like Google and Yahoo). It tells them the IP addresses authorized to send emails on your behalf.

 

  • What happens next? Your sent email arrives at the receiver’s mail server. It is looking to see if the email is from an authorized sender.

 

  • Based on your DMARC policy, the receiver can take action. This includes delivery, rejection, or quarantine.

 

  • You get reporting back from the DMARC authentication. The reports let you know if your business email is being delivered. It also tells you if scammers are spoofing your domain.

 

 

Why Google & Yahoo’s New DMARC Policy Matters

Both Google and Yahoo have offered some level of spam filtering. But didn’t strictly enforce DMARC policies. The new DMARC policy raises the bar on email security.

  • Starting in February 2024, the new rule took place. Businesses sending over 5,000 emails daily must have DMARC implemented.

 

  • Both companies also have policies for those sending fewer emails. These relate to SPF and DKIM authentication.

 

Look for email authentication requirements to continue. You need to pay attention to ensure the smooth delivery of your business email.

The Benefits of Implementing DMARC:

Implementing DMARC isn’t just about complying with new policies. It offers a range of benefits for your business:

  • Protects your brand reputation:DMARC helps prevent email spoofing scams. These scams could damage your brand image and customer trust.

 

  • Improves email deliverability:Proper authentication ensures delivery. Your legitimate emails reach recipients’ inboxes instead of spam folders.

 

  • Provides valuable insights:DMARC reports offer detailed information. They give visibility into how different receivers are handling your emails as well as help you identify potential issues. They also improve your email security posture.

 

Taking Action: How to Put DMARC in Place

Implementing DMARC is crucial now. This is especially true considering the rising email security concerns with email spoofing. Here’s how to get started:

  • Understand your DMARC options

 

  • Consult your IT team or IT security provider

 

  • Track and adjust regularly

 

Need Help with Email Authentication & DMARC Monitoring?

DMARC is just one piece of the email security puzzle. It’s important to put email authentication in place. This is one of many security measures required in the modern digital environment. Need help putting these protocols in place? Just let us know.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Beware of Deepfakes! Tips on How to Spot the Different Types

Security padlockHave you ever seen a video of your favorite celebrity saying something outrageous? Then later, you find out it was completely fabricated? Or perhaps you’ve received an urgent email seemingly from your boss. But something felt off.

Welcome to the world of deepfakes. This is a rapidly evolving technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI). It does this to create synthetic media, often in the form of videos or audio recordings. They can appear real but are actually manipulated.

People can use deepfakes for creative purposes. Such as satire or entertainment. But their potential for misuse is concerning. Deepfakes have already made it into political campaigns. In 2024, a fake robocall mimicked the voice of a candidate. Scammers wanted to fool people into believing they said something they never said.

Bad actors can use deepfakes to spread misinformation. As well as damage reputations and even manipulate financial markets. They are also used in phishing attacks. Knowing how to identify different types of deepfakes is crucial in today’s world.

Here at SolaaS we are on mission to educate businesses on staying safe online and this article is one of a number we will be sharing to promote cybersecurity awareness.

So, what are the different types of deepfakes, and how can you spot them?

Face-Swapping Deepfakes

This is the most common type. Here the face of one person is seamlessly superimposed onto another’s body in a video. These can be quite convincing, especially with high-quality footage and sophisticated AI algorithms.

Here’s how to spot them:

  • Look for inconsistencies: Pay close attention to lighting, skin tones, and facial expressions. Do they appear natural and consistent throughout the video? Look for subtle glitches such as hair not moving realistically or slight misalignments around the face and neck.

 

  • Check the source: Where did you encounter the video? Was it on a reputable news site or a random social media page? Be cautious of unverified sources and unknown channels.

 

  • Listen closely: Does the voice sound natural? Does it match the person’s typical speech patterns? Incongruences in voice tone, pitch, or accent can be giveaways.

 

 

Deepfake Audio

This type involves generating synthetic voice recordings. They mimic a specific person’s speech patterns and intonations. Scammers can use these to create fake audio messages. As well as make it seem like someone said something they didn’t.

Here’s how to spot them:

  • Focus on the audio quality: Deepfake audio can sound slightly robotic or unnatural. This is especially true when compared to genuine recordings of the same person. Pay attention to unusual pauses as well as inconsistent pronunciation or a strange emphasis.

 

  • Compare the content: Does the content of the audio message align with what the person would say? Or within the context in which it’s presented? Consider if the content seems out of character or contradicts known facts.

 

  • Seek verification: Is there any independent evidence to support the claims made? If not, approach it with healthy skepticism.

 

Text-Based Deepfakes

This is an emerging type of deepfake. It uses AI to generate written content. Such as social media posts, articles, or emails. They mimic the writing style of a specific person or publication. These can be particularly dangerous. Scammers can use these to spread misinformation or impersonate someone online.

Here’s how to spot them:

  • Read critically: Pay attention to the writing style, vocabulary, and tone. Does it match the way the person or publication typically writes? Look for unusual phrasing, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies in tone.

 

  • Check factual accuracy: Verify the information presented in the text against reliable sources. Don’t rely solely on the content itself for confirmation.

 

  • Be wary of emotional triggers: Be cautious of content that evokes strong emotions. Such as fear, anger, or outrage. Scammers may be using these to manipulate your judgment.

 

Deepfake Videos with Object Manipulation

This type goes beyond faces and voices. It uses AI to manipulate objects within real video footage such as changing their appearance or behavior. Bad actors may be using this to fabricate events or alter visual evidence.

Here’s how to spot them:

  • Observe physics and movement: Pay attention to how objects move in the video. Does their motion appear natural and consistent with the laws of physics? Look for unnatural movement patterns as well as sudden changes in object size, or inconsistencies in lighting and shadows.

 

  • Seek original footage: If possible, try to find the original source of the video footage. This can help you compare it to the manipulated version and identify alterations.

 

Staying vigilant and applying critical thinking are crucial in the age of deepfakes.

Familiarize yourself with the different types. Learn to recognize potential red flags. Verify information through reliable sources. These actions will help you become more informed and secure.

Get a Device Security Checkup

Criminals are using deepfakes for phishing. Just by clicking on one, you may have downloaded a virus. A device security checkup can give you peace of mind. We’ll take a look for any potential threats and remove them.

Contact us today to learn more.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Don’t Fall for a Cyber Scam: How to Spot Phishing Attempts and Protect Yourself Online

hacker trying to get into computerIn today’s digital age, cyber scams are becoming increasingly common. From phishing emails to fake websites, scammers are constantly finding new ways to trick unsuspecting individuals into giving away their personal information. It’s important to be vigilant and educate yourself on how to spot these scams before it’s too late.

One of the most common forms of cyber scams is phishing. Phishing is when scammers send out emails pretending to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a company, in an attempt to steal your personal information. These emails often contain links to fake websites that look identical to the real ones, making it easy to fall for the scam.

To identify phishing attempts, look out for red flags such as spelling and grammatical errors, generic greetings (such as “Dear Customer” instead of your name), and urgent requests for personal information. If you receive an email that seems suspicious, do not click on any links or provide any personal information. Instead, contact the company directly using their official website or phone number to verify the authenticity of the email.

Spotting a fake email can be tricky, but there are a few key things to look out for. Check the sender’s email address to see if it matches the official domain of the company they claim to be from. Look for any unusual formatting or design elements, as scammers often use generic templates to create fake emails. If the email contains any attachments or links, be cautious and do not open them unless you are certain of their legitimacy.

Education is key when it comes to protecting yourself from cyber scams. Make sure to educate yourself and your staff on the dangers of phishing and how to spot fake emails. Provide training sessions and resources on cybersecurity best practices, such as how to create strong passwords and how to safely navigate the internet. Encourage your staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious emails or activity to the IT department.

By taking proactive steps to educate yourself and your staff on how to avoid being scammed, you can protect yourself and your company from falling victim to cyber scams. Remember to always be cautious when receiving emails or messages from unknown sources, and never provide personal information unless you are certain of the sender’s authenticity. Stay safe online and don’t fall for a cyber scam.

SolaaS provide a complete range of services from security software to staff training – all easily accessed and monitored from your own dedicated dashboard, giving you an instant overview on how your system is operating and which team members are not up to date with security training.

Contact us to discover more about protecting your business from phishing attacks.