Behind the hack: a guide to email security.

Posted 28 January 2022 by Laura

The chances are you’ve never seen a real-life hack from the perspective of a real-life hacker before. Sitting in an ethical hacker’s chair, this short video provides a real insight into the tricks hackers use and just how easy it is for them to encrypt every single piece of data across your networks, identities and devices.

This video is a must-see for anyone serious about securing their business in the cloud. In this attack, the ethical hacker encrypts all of the victim’s data, until a huge ransom is required to get it back.

In 2020, we sent and received 306.4 billion emails. With figures like that, it’s easy to see why email remains the most common channel for both opportunistic and targeted cyberattacks.

A hacker's guide to email security:


How’s your Nigerian Prince doing?
Dodgy emails used to be really easy to spot – but cyberattacks have become more sophisticated and now they’re fooling just about anyone – and the chaos of Covid has fuelled the exponential rise in attacks. As Rick McElroy, Principal Cybersecurity Strategist, said in VMWare's 2021 Global Insights Report “one industry that has not been disrupted by COVID-19 is cybercrime".

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It’s important to remember that cybersecurity is a huge business – with people being paid lots of money to create landing zones and webpages that look just like the ones we see every day. Small typos in email addresses and URLs are easy for hackers to implement – and really easy for unknowing victims to buy into. Forbes have named six ethical hacking millionaires – and there’s nothing to suggest that the dark side of hacking is any less substantial when it comes to potential earnings.

A Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and IPSOS Mori Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021, found that:

  • 39% of businesses reported having experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months and 27% of those experienced issues at least once a week.
  • Only half of organisations have taken any action to help identify cyber security risks in the last 12 months.

    Email security in the cloud
    The cloud-based email market is estimated to hit $60.74 billion this year. Here are our top five tips to improve your email security. Four out of five are both free and easy – so there really is no excuse.

    1. Use passphrases (two or three words) instead of passwords.
    2. Educate yourself and your staff on phishing emails, they can be particularly tricky to spot. If you see one, report it to your IT team.
    3. Keep your work and personal emails separate.
    4. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) across the business – consider making it part of your new starter process?
    5. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 provides inbound filtering, phishing defence and DLP. It also integrates with Microsoft Defender (EDR) and Azure Sentinel (SIEM) – if you want to push your business into the realms of maximum, high security protection in the cloud.

    Our recent blog post, Email Security to Predict, Prevent, Detect and Respond, explains why securing email in the cloud is so important for businesses. It includes more detailed information around our top tips – and also includes tips to share with your teams, whether they’re based in the office, or working remotely at home or elsewhere.

    Cyber security in Azure
    We talk a lot about cyber security in Azure – we’re a small team but we all live and breathe it. As a Microsoft cloud, security, identity and access specialist, if you don't relish in talking tech then you probably don't want to be sat next to us at a dinner party. But if you're in the game for bomb-proof protection for your business, data, people and devices in a world of rapidly evolving cyber threats, we might just be what you're looking for.


If you're unsure how secure your business is in the cloud or on prem, or if you're worried about how to securely move your business over to the cloud, we're always happy to chat to see if we can help.

Or, if you're intrigued about what it’s like to work with us, see what our lovely clients had to say about us in these short videos:
Feeling the Love with Edmond at Future Anthem
Shooting the Breeze with Dieter at Wood Thilsted