Email scams such as phishing and spoofing can have an impact at any level of any organization. But as executive-level employees tend to have access to the most sensitive, important, and financially appealing information, it’s little wonder that scammers tend to target the C-suite level. In fact, according to a 2022 report by Verizon titled the Data Breach Investigations Report, company executives are six times more likely than lower-level employees to fall victim to email scams or cyberattacks.
There have been some significant examples of business email compromise recently. For instance, in 2019, the Toyota Boshoku Corporation lost $37 million after information in a payment direction was changed. The 2020 SolarWinds attack was also one of the biggest supply chain attacks in history, with the effects expected to be felt in the industry for years to come.
So, perhaps it is not surprising that companies are looking for ways to protect executive-level employees, reputations, and sensitive information. Encrypted email forms a large part of these defenses, but it may be the case that many existing applications are not fit for purpose or are at best vulnerable to attack.
The Importance of Encryption
Not using encrypted email services can leave enterprises open to a high level of risk. Data breaches can significantly impact any organization in terms of financial costs and severe fines. As the examples above outlined, even seemingly minor breaches in email security can have disastrous and far-reaching consequences.
Some of the main threats to C-suite executives include phishing scams, which aim to trick users into handing over sensitive information. Cyberattackers might try to create false accounts that spoof or mimic a trusted user’s details. And by their nature, C-suite-level emails will often contain important information that is more enticing to cyberattackers.
Of course, not just executives need to be protected, as more junior colleagues within the organization can be utilized to instigate more serious breaches. However, C-suite level execs should see it as part of their role to set a good example of overall cybersecurity for the business.
Email Encryption Solutions for C-Suite Execs
Executives need a reliable way to protect their communications, which involves providing an easy-to-use email channel that is both highly secure and impossible for scammers to breach. This should integrate with existing email solutions and provide a separate channel for secure email communications. Encryption should be at the center of any email security system.
There are two main types of encrypted email in use today. One is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is the primary encryption tool used by major email providers. However, this can be vulnerable to phishing scams or hacking.
The other type of email encryption is called end-to-end, which is the more secure option. Messages are encrypted by the sender but can only be decrypted by the recipient, using a combination of public and private keys. This offers a higher level of security to executives, especially those dealing with sensitive information, as cyberattackers cannot replicate the private key needed to access the email and the information contained inside. And because all the encryption is done ‘behind the scenes’, there is no need for passwords or excessive admin that can interrupt business flow.
Name: Michael Bertini
Job Title: Consultant