A lot of malware focuses on phishing schemes and redirected links. But attachments are also dangerous once they’re downloaded onto a company network. Here’s why you need an expert to protect your company from unreliable attachments:
1. Malicious documents are an easy way to conceal attacks.
Generally speaking, emails themselves can’t harm your computer or your business. All an email can do is convince the reader to take certain actions. It’s the links to unverified sites and downloadable attachments that cause the real problems.
Downloading an unverified .exe file is the clearest sign of danger because that means your employee is downloading a program. However, viruses can be concealed in everything from a Word document to a picture file. Your email security needs to involve a system to verify the safety of attachments, not just the emails they arrived on. That means your protections need to include a sandbox to check attachments for hostile triggers and a constantly updating database of identified threats.
2. Every file type could be a threat.
Everyone expects different documents to have different ranges of sizes. A text document, for example, is generally smaller than an image file, and video files are huge. Bigger files, then, when able to conceal extra code and malicious additions without seeming suspicious. So the first step is to verify that the file’s size seems reasonable.
However, scripts are getting both smaller and smarter. Video files were the best choice for containing malware but were more suspicious. Document downloads are far more common, but they were too small to contain too many scripts. Now those scripts can work in the background of your computer to download bigger, more disruptive programs from the Internet.
3. You need a better way to preview documents.
Most email services come with a preview tool. When you just need to view a document instead of interacting with it or altering it, it’s always best to keep the document in preview mode instead of downloading it.
One of the ways malicious documents can get around this precaution is to just not be compatible with the preview reader. Even with legitimate documents from trusted sources, the preview feature doesn’t work. That turns the step into an unreliable inconvenience rather than a security measure.
Find a service that can help make your attachments previewable.
4. Stopping an email once doesn’t stop the threat.
Just because you get an alert not to open an email attachment doesn’t mean the problem has been solved. The threat still lingers in your inbox. The best policy isn’t just to block the attachment or even just to throw it away blindly. Automatically scan suspicious attachments to identify the type of threat and the risk the threat represents.
That information gives your email service more information to properly dispose of the attachment.
5. It’s important to get to the bottom of the problem.
Even once one individual email attachment is handled, that’s only the beginning of the problem if you allow it to grow. Talk to your dedicated IT service about a plan of action for every attack. At the very least, your company email address is already on a list and you are likely to receive similar emails in the future.
But it’s more likely that some of your coworkers were on the initial email list, too. You need to put a stop to it before they start downloading the attachments or more company email addresses are added to the list. A warning email telling people not to download a prior attachment is clunky, won’t help recipients who read their emails in order, and doesn’t protect against future attacks.
Attachments are just one of the avenues malicious actors have into your business’s network. Go to IT Networks Australia Pty Ltd for dedicated IT management that handles the threats for you.