Phishing: The Impacts on Office 365

Phishing scams are costing businesses billions. For prospective cyberattackers, Office 365 and Exchange Online present especially profitable phishing targets.

As the most used office productivity tool on the market, Microsoft Office 365 tracks a lot of user data. Millions upon millions of data points, in fact.

With such a significant user base, Office 365 presents an interesting opportunity for prospective attackers. Millions of data points offer millions of opportunities to extort companies. Headlines report countless exploits where hackers have undermined 365 environments, at the expense of their users.

That’s why it’s vital for IT professional to take practical steps to secure their O365 environments.

Office 365 Attacks: Malware, Phishing and Ransomware

In early 2018, specific threats targeting Office 365 started to appear. Some of them, like ShurL0ckr, were so well disguised that they went undetected by Office 365 for an extended period of time.

Without protection, cloud-based email systems (like Office365) are vulnerable to this type of targeted attack.

Native Email Protection in O365

Companies that move to Office 365 for their hosted email solution rely on Microsoft native anti-spam tools for their email protection. As phishing attacks grow more prevalent, the Office 365 spam filter struggles to keep up. While equipped with a reasonable level of security, advanced and persistent spear phishing attacks prove difficult to contain.

Office 365 vs Malware & Spam

Office 365 natively offers two levels of email security:

  • Exchange Online Protection (OEP)
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

This pair of tools were built to filter and protect Exchange Online email from malicious threats, including spam, malware and ransomware. These tools detect 100% of all known viruses.

When new threats arise, the tools are less effective. They struggle to keep up with the speed hackers develop and deploy new malware. New tactics can easily penetrate email filtering mechanisms that aren’t frequently updated, like OEP and ATP.  The prevalence and evolution of malware is just too persistent.

That’s why a dedicated secure messaging and spam filtering solution becomes critical to an organization’s email and data security. An anti-spam tool can add extra protection to any Exchange Online environment. As attackers create new, more persistent threats – an O365 environment needs advanced protection.

Zero-Day Vulnerability

When a malware infected email arrives and your system cannot detect the risk, the malware can exploit gaps in your email client or desktop setup.

Sometimes, these infections go unnoticed for extended periods of time (eg. ShurL0ckr). Zero-day vulnerability refers to the time between when a system is infected and an IT administrator detects the threat. During this period, the malware can do extensive damage to a corporate network, including data theft or locking down systems entirely.

Zero-day vulnerabilities exist because hackers make it their job to find vulnerabilities in computer software and networks. That’s why corporate networks require anti-spam specific tools: to counter the persistence of cyberattackers.

Recent innovations in machine learning and AI strengthen the protective nature of anti-spam tools. Predictive security tools offer pattern learning and intelligence to anticipate spear phishing, whaling and zero-day attacks before they reach the Exchange inbox.

HostedBizz Anti-Spam for Office 365

In response to the growing threats against Exchange Online environments, HostedBizz launched a Hosted Anti-Spam for Office 365 solution.

Hosted Anti-Spam, powered by SpamTitan, takes an in-depth approach to malware, spearphishing and zero-day attack detection and protection. Features include:

  • Layered antivirus protection (Kaspersky Lab and Clam AV engines)
  • Inbound and outbound virus scanning
  • IP protection control and reputation scanning
  • Protection against impersonation attacks
  • Real-time scanning and quarantine
  • Machine-learning for predictive analysis
  • File unpacking (like .zip and .rar) to examine potentially malicious programs
  • Greylisting/Whitelisting/Blacklisting
  • Recipient verifications

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

After several decades, Office 365 continues to be the leader in productivity and collaboration. The level of expertise in delivering productivity and email tools is unparalleled.

In order to secure these tools against persistent viral threat, companies using O365 and Exchange Online require a third party partner to offer a secure email and web usage experience.

Instead of waiting for a security issue to impact your organization’s productivity, consider how HostedBizz Anti-Spam can complement your existing IT infrastructure.

Learn more about HostedBizz Anti-Spam. Contact us today!

About Shannon Peck

Hello! I'm Shannon. Nice to meet you. If you're already a HostedBizz partner, we've likely worked together creating custom collateral, or building lead generation campaigns.

I have been working in the tech marketing industry for well over 15 years, and love helping small and medium businesses reach their full sales potential.

To learn more about how I can help you grow your cloud-based offerings, sign on as a HostedBizz partner, and ask to speak with me! If you're already a partner, feel free to reach out. I'm looking forward to chatting!

- Shannon