Email Spoofing: How to Protect Yourself from Against It?

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The word spoofing means, to deceive or trick. In the IT community, it refers to as using the art of deception to gain information on computer systems or about other computer users.

The term email spoofing is the process of changing the email header so that the message that is sent appears to have sent by someone or someplace other than the actual source.

Email spoofing is a strategy used in phishing and spam campaigns because the person receiving the email is more likely to open it if it is from an organization or an individual they know.

The process of spoofing an email address

It’s as simple as you may not want it to be. For spoofing an email address you just require an SMTP server (a server that can send emails) and a mailing software. There are many mailing software available on the internet, you may choose whichever you like. Here is one of them, Mailchimp.

Web hosting servers provide an SMTP server for individuals and organizations to send and receive email addresses. However, if you are unable to afford a hosting plan you can use your computer as a host for SMTP servers.

You may have to port-forward (open a port) Port 25 is used to send emails. However, this port is blocked by many ISPs since it can be used to spread malware on a huge scale. Once the setup is done and you have installed your mailing software you just need to write a normal email, but this time you will be impersonating an individual or maybe an organization.

What are DMARC, SPF, and DKIM responsible for?

DMARC, SPF, and DKIM are the foundations of email validation and verification. All of them play an important part, to build and secure a brand’s reputation.

If a brand applies these methods to the website domain, it indirectly shows that it cares for the consumers at the end of the day.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is validation protocols for emails, programmed to stop the plague of email spoofing by providing the receiving end user a way to find out that the email that they received from a domain is actually from the IP address authorized by the domain owner.

Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) is referred to as a method of verifying the content inside of an email, in other words, the content remained the same. This layer of protection is added by an implementation of private/public key.

An entry is made on the DNS server with Public DKIM key which is used by the receiving user that the DKIM signature is correct, however, on the server side, the server authenticates the email messages with the corresponding private key.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a protocol that is used by the other two authentication mechanisms (SPF and DKIM). DMARC allows a domain administrator to publish policies regarding authentication and validation of emails and what to do if the other two methods fail to authenticate, such as reject and or delete the email.

How to protect yourself against email spoofing?

Learning to protect against email spoofing is essential these days, I would not necessarily call it a skill, but it is more like a muscle memory, you know it is a spoofing mail when you see it.

Besides, everyone should have the habit of learning new things everyday especially when it comes to running a business or surfing the internet, you should know how to protect yourself from data breaches and scams.

Muscle up your spam filters’ strength

This is a start, spam filters can majorly help in preventing these messages from getting into your inbox. Email providers offer different types of solutions as well for these messages. Depending upon your mail provider. It could be different, however, Google mail provides an option known as Priority Inbox.

Priority Inbox is a feature in google mail that changes the receiving layout to people that it thinks are important for you. However, if the prioritized person gets spoofed you may still receive those messages.

Do not click on unfamiliar emails or download an attachment from it

Let’s say you receive an email from someone that you don’t know, you open the email to read it. There’s a lot of stuff written in it that may interest you and has an attached file within it. The messages are designed specifically to deceive people, it is up to you if you fall for that or not.

However, downloading attachments from unfamiliar emails is not recommended, it might contain malware that might lock you up from accessing your files and or take your personal data, it may even expose your whole network if you are working in a corporate environment. You need to keep an eye out for emails like these.

Conclusion

Even though all these protocols and mechanisms are implemented, spoofing still occurs and people lose data because not organization uses these protocols.

On the internet, you are at a constant risk of losing data and personal info, due to that you need to be careful at all times while surfing it.

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