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Community Blog What Email Spoofing Is and How to Stop It

What Email Spoofing Is and How to Stop It

This article explains email spoofing and how to stop it.

By Alain Francois

There are security risks on the Internet. You may receive a message that looked like it was sent by someone you know, but it was sent by someone else. You could see some promotional offers from well-known companies asking you to click links to order gift cards, but the offer did not come from the company.

What Is Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing is an identity theft technique that involves sending messages and pretending to be someone else. The goal is to hide the real origin of the sender to make it look like a trusted address. When a recipient receives the message, they believe it is from a trusted source. They are more likely to open it, click a link in the message, or open an attachment. It can be used to send spam. These messages are very likely to be refused by mail servers, and the anti-spam protection will lead to the blacklisting of that email. The people behind this are called spammers, and they can also set up attacks against network security.

Email is an open and fairly insecure system that allows users worldwide to exchange messages easily. Unfortunately, this opening is ideal for anyone that wants to abuse it. Cybercriminals can achieve several objectives, including phishing, installing malware, and accessing confidential data.

How Does Email Spoofing Work?

Spoofed emails can contain links to harmful websites or attachments infected with malware. Sender data can be hacked relatively easily in two ways:

  • Email spoofers can mimic a trusted email address or domain using alternate letters or numbers that only differ slightly from the original. It can be done by changing, reversing, adding, or deleting characters. For example, the trusted person’s email is franck@alibabacloud.com, but the spammer deletes a character and makes it read franck@alibabcloud.com. The a is not there anymore. In many cases, this small change cannot be recognized by the receiver.
  • Email spoofers can change the "From" field of an email to match the email address of a known or trusted source. The only way to see the real email address of the sender is to simulate a reply to the message. This method shows that the reply email is not the same and os not a known or trusted source.

How to Recognize Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing is something that is well advertised to people. Here are some ways to help recognize those attacks:

  • Generic Email Domain: Emails sent by businesses industries are sent from their official domain.
  • Request for Personal Information: You should be wary of companies that ask for your personal and banking information by email, especially if they are supposed to have it already.
  • Errors and Inconsistencies: You should also be wary if the sender's name matches the email address or if the message contains spelling or grammar errors. Normally, legitimate businesses don't make these kinds of mistakes in the messages they send to their customers.
  • Wrong URLs: Many hackers trick their victims into viewing a spoofed version of a website. They pass their site off as an authentic site with misspellings or the omission of a letter in the domain name (for example, alibabcloud.com instead of alibabacloud.com).
  • Strange Attachments: Some hackers try to bypass spam filters by placing the malicious content of their message in an attachment. Be especially careful with attachments with web extensions (such as .html) or executables extensions (such as .exe or .deb), as they can install malicious programs on your device. Beware of attachments and unknown links in suspicious emails.

All of the information above can be helpful to recognize email spoofing, but it doesn't tell how to prevent or stop it.

Email Spoofing and Phishing Statistics
Email clients configured to use SPF and DMARC will automatically reject emails that fail validation or send them to the user’s spambox. Attackers target people and businesses, and just one successfully tricked user can lead to theft of money, data and credentials.

It’s no wonder that phishing is one of today’s most prominent cyber attacks. Consider the following statistics:

3.1 billion domain spoofing emails are sent per day.
More than 90% of cyber-attacks start with an email message.
Email spoofing and phishing have had a worldwide impact costing an estimated $26 billion since 2016.

In 2019, the FBI reported that 467,000 cyber-attacks were successful, and 24% of them were email-based.
The average scam tricked users out of $75,000.

What are the main types of spoofing emails?
NO.1 paypal spoof email
NO.2 apple spoof email
NO.3 amazon spoof email

How to Stop Email Spoofing?

Even though it is relatively easy to protect against fraudulent emails, email spoofing is still a common technique used by spammers. When reading a message:

  • Stay Vigilant: Stay on guard and watch for signs of spoofing attacks to reduce the risks
  • Beware of Strange Attachments: Never open attachments you didn't expect to receive, especially if they don't look normal to you.
  • Change Your Passwords Regularly: A spammer will not be able to do much damage if you've already changed your password. Create strong passwords that are difficult to guess and use a password manager to save them securely.
  • Check URL before Clicking: Hover over links before clicking to see where each link will take you in advance. If you decide to click on a link, check the URL after the page loads to see if you have been redirected to a different URL.
  • Implement Some Email Security Control: Domain owners must configure security. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) can specify which IP addresses are approved to send an email. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) works with asymmetric encryption. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) works with authentication standards. This way, spoofing emails are detected before they arrive in mailboxes, and attackers cannot spoof your domain.
  • Email Signing Certificates: If you are an organization, you can use email signing certificates to protect outgoing emails. This asserts identity through the use of unique digital signatures and uses public-key encryption to provide security.

Conclusion

Individuals and organizations can be affected by email spoofing equally. It's important to stay updated and learn more about email spoofing. Certain security protocols can help administrators safeguard their domain from cybercriminals.

Related Article

Email spoofing details

Email spoofing technology can be used for phishing attacks.
That is, the administrator or it o & M department is forged to send emails to obtain trust so that the other party can open the accompanying Trojan file or reply to the sensitive information they want to obtain.

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