What exactly is spoofing in email?
To put it another way, the purpose of phishing emails is to deceive the receiver into thinking that the email is genuine when it is not. One frequent strategy for achieving this goal is to make it look as if the emails were sent from a person the recipient is familiar with and respects. One method for doing this is known as faking an email address. A faked email is one in which the display name of the email is made to seem like it belongs to a person whom the receiver of the email respects.
The Process Behind Spoofing Emails
The headers and the body of an email are the two primary components that may be separated from one another. It is the responsibility of the headers to provide the metadata as well as the information that is necessary to deliver the email to its intended recipient. The actual message that is being sent may be found in the body of the email.
The format of emails and the manner in which computers interact with one another over email is defined by the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). When SMTP was being created, security was not a concern, and the protocol was constructed with no method to validate the validity of email headers. This led to a number of vulnerabilities that were discovered over time.
This is exploited by email spoofing, which modifies the value of the FROM header (the part of an email that is supposed to indicate the sender's email address) in order to send false messages. Changing this value won't result in an error in the email since it is just used to provide the recipient with information about the sender's identity.
Nevertheless, the FROM address may be used to route answers to an email, which may be a challenge for some phishing efforts. However, the SMTP standard also contains a REPLY-TO header, which allows the sender to select an alternative address for responses to be sent to in the event that they are received in response to an email. Phishers may utilise this feature to obtain answers to phishing emails if they have faked the address, even though it is more typically used in marketing email blasts.
How to Recognize a Fake Electronic Message
Phishing campaigns, of which spoofed emails are a component, are intended to deceive the receiver into doing some action that is beneficial to the perpetrator in some way. It is advisable to do a spoofing test on every email that has an embedded link to click on, an attachment, or any other action that is requested of the recipient.
Cornpany.com might be an example of an attack that utilises a real-world address that has been spoofed to seem to be something else entirely, such as company.com. In certain cases, the value of the FROM header may be changed to a valid address that is not within the control of the sender.
The first scenario is the easiest to spot since it just requires a close inspection of the sender's email address. However, the second scenario may need further research. Fake FROM addresses may be recognised based on the following criteria:
Phishing emails are created to seem as if they came from a real company, although they do not always succeed. It's possible that the email you received was a faked attempt at phishing if it doesn't sound like it originated from the purported sender.
A reply to an email sent to one address may be sent to a different address by using the "Reply-To" field in the email's header. Even while this has certain appropriate applications (like conducting bulk email campaigns), the fact that an email arriving from a personal account utilises it is unique and should raise suspicions about its authenticity.
Received: The IP addresses and domain names of the machines and email servers that the email passed through may be found in the RECEIVED header of an email. This header is included at the end of an email. Only the email server used by the firm the message originated from and was addressed to should be used for sending and receiving emails inside the same organisation.
How to Avoid Being Duped by Phishing Emails
Because of the proliferation of spear phishing emails, preventing phishing attacks has become an essential part of organisational email security strategies. The following are some of the most important and effective best practises for defending against phishing attacks:
Emails that originate from outside the firm may seem like they were sent from an internal address, but in reality, they were sent from an external source. Including a warning banner in all emails sent outside makes it easier for recipients to recognise spoofing attempts made on their emails.
Set up protection for your emails: Authentication information is added to emails by email protection protocols such as DMARC and SPF. An attacker will have a more difficult time sending faked emails from a company's domains as a result of this change.
Check the Email Address Phishers often utilise addresses that resemble authentic ones in order to make their emails seem more trustworthy. Before putting your faith in an email, be sure the sender's address is accurate by double checking it.
Check the Headers of the Email: Altering the SMTP headers included inside emails is how spoofing is accomplished. If you get an email that seems fishy, read through the headers for any discrepancies.
Protection against Email Spoofing Utilizing Check Point
Because spoofed emails are created with the intention of being deceitful, it might be difficult for staff to recognise more sophisticated phishing assaults. One simple action, such as clicking on a bad link or opening a file that contains malware, may do considerable damage to the business. Phishing emails are one of the most common delivery strategies for ransomware and other forms of malware. They are also one of the major causes of data breaches.