Hackers nowadays are more sophisticated than ever and the scale and frequency of email security breaches have greatly increased. In fact, there were about 2.7 billion email addresses and more than 21 million passwords exposed in a single data breach in 2019. 

It was eventually revealed that the breach was due in part because of poor security practices. But it’s not enough for private individuals to keep an eye on their emails. Businesses too have to do their part in keeping their customers’ data fully protected. 

Here are the different types of email security threats in 2020.

1. Spam Emails

Although spam emails seem harmless, if they come from the wrong hands, they could pose a serious risk to your company’s data security. Email bombing, a popular form of spam, has been found to be especially dangerous because it treats spam emails as some sort of a Trojan horse virus.

With this practice, the receiver will be flooded with email messages and most of these are confirmation emails. When the hacker gets a hold of the email address of the victim who responded, they will run a script to lure the victim to sign up to as many websites as possible. 

The victim won’t notice any malicious behavior, allowing the hacker to gain access to the victim’s accounts. This is one of the reasons why implementing email security is crucial.

2. Viruses

Virus refers to a computer program that’s made to infiltrate and cause havoc to the computer system of the victim by adding malicious code. In most cases, the viruses are sent through spam emails and can also be a part of a phishing attack. 

Depending on the type of virus, it will execute its payload the moment it gets a hold of the victim’s computer system. Sometimes, the virus will erase the company’s hard drive, steal passwords, or corrupt files.

3. Phishing

Phishing is a form of attack where the hacker utilizes different channels of electronic communication, such as email to impersonate a trusted sender. 

So, when the receiver finds that the email came from a reliable sender, they will be more likely to open the email and provide the information asked, even if the information is supposedly private. 

Sometimes, the receiver will be asked to download an unsecured attachment, thereby exposing the user’s computer system to the virus.

4. Insider Threats

Depending on the employee’s role in a company, the employee may have access to the company’s most sensitive information and might use this information to their own advantage. Insider threat is pretty common. 

In fact, more than 61% of IT companies believe that employees may have put their data maliciously at risk in the past 12 months. Even if the risk is due to human error, insider threat could cause a massive data breach with severe consequences.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is another type of malware. Its main function is to encrypt the files of the victim and hold them hostage. 

The attacker will demand a ransom before these files are released. They will request for the ransom to be paid in Bitcoin so they won’t be traced. 

Ransomware is one of the most popular forms of cyber threats and there are more than 200 million ransomware attacks that have taken place in 2019 alone.