Technological Advances in Combating Email Scams

By Srikanth
8 Min Read
Technological Advances in Combating Email Scams 1

Email scams have been around nearly as long as the internet, but scamming methods haven’t remained the same over time. For more than 30 years, scammers have cultivated their skills in fraud, phishing attacks, and confusing victims into giving away important information that should be protected.

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As technology advances, scammers have access to better tools, more user information, and superior techniques that continue to trick their victims effectively. Scammers aren’t the only ones with better tools, though.

The average user is more aware of the risks of phishing attacks than ever before, and most use email tools with built-in protections against common scams. If you’re familiar with the Spam or Junk folder in your email tool, then you’re benefitting from protective tools built into your email platform, even if you don’t realize you’re being protected.

There are other ways for you to protect yourself, though. Learn about recent technological advances and how they can help guard you from phishing scams.

Understanding the Evolution of Email Scams

Email scams first started in the 1990s as simple phishing attempts and have since become significantly more advanced as technology has evolved. What started as simple text messages has grown to incorporate fraudulent websites, spoofed email addresses, and significantly more personal data taken from scouring the internet.

The rise of social media, online resumes, personal websites, and more has made it easier than ever for scammers to gather data about their prospective victims. All the additional data and impressive new phishing tools have made phishing attacks more convincing and effective than ever before.

Many scammers today are also utilizing AI tools to craft more compelling scam emails than ever before. With AI, scammers can process huge pools of data about their potential victims and quickly craft customized emails that are more convincing than ever before. As AI services become readily available, it’s the first time that scammers can mass-produce convincing phishing emails that look personalized and legitimate.

Scammers don’t just have more effective tools and more information to work with, they have more impressive targets to attack as well. Most people utilize online banking services, many have cryptocurrencies stored in online wallets, and countless other treasures can be stolen. Today, attackers can get rich using simple email scams and straightforward phishing attacks. It’s more important than ever to understand how to identify email scams and what you can do to protect yourself from being a victim.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Identifying Scam Emails

Just as artificial intelligence is being leveraged to create more effective email attacks, it’s also being used for defensive purposes. Through machine learning and regular training, many organizations are building defense systems that can identify scam emails from legitimate ones. These tools look for patterns in scam emails that legitimate emails don’t have.

The services look for obvious fake website links, but they look for other patterns that effectively classify emails into legitimate or fake categories. AI systems are impressively skilled at finding useful patterns in information, and modern AI tools are being used to fight against email scammers every day.

How Effective Are Advanced Algorithms in Authenticating Emails?

DMARC (domain message authentication, reporting, and conformance) and other advanced authentication systems can effectively authenticate emails in a straightforward manner when they’re sent by a known email provider.

The trouble is that many companies and individuals are using advanced email marketing tools and specialty email management services to control their emails. These services can make it more difficult to authenticate emails. Attackers are also using tools and services meant to confuse technologies like DMARC, making it less effective in protecting you from phishing attacks.

How Crucial Is User Awareness in Preventing Email Scams?

No matter how effective AI defense tools become, there is always going to be a risk of users falling for phishing scams via email and other communication methods.

That’s why it’s most important that individuals learn how to spot scams themselves and how to take action to protect themselves. Everyone should know which email attachments to avoid, such as .bat or .exe files, and it’s helpful for users to regularly see scam emails to give them a reference to use. Organizations should develop a culture that encourages sharing scam emails and educating employees about the dangers of phishing attacks.

As a user, you must always be wary of users requesting personal information via your email account.

Ask to speak to the company over the phone or send information through a protected email rather than providing it as an attachment in your standard account. You can also input any questionable email address into an email lookup tool to find out if it has been found in phishing attacks or other questionable behavior. By committing to educating yourself and staying proactive about protecting your data via email, you can avoid being harmed by most modern-day phishing attacks.

How to Make sure your email system is set up correctly?

When using a modern email system, you’re likely benefitting from simple protective measures at all times. There are extra things you can do to protect yourself, though. You should take the time to activate DMARC tool protection on your chosen platform.

It’s straightforward to activate DMARC on something like Gmail, Google Gsuites, and Microsoft Office 365. It also enables users to set up DMARC if they are interested in the authentication system. Each email platform is different, though, and users must research how to enable DMARC protection and if DMARC safeguards are even compatible with their chosen email platform. As a Gmail or Google GSuites user, you can get information about setting up DMARC protection here. If you rely on Microsoft Office 365 to manage your email, you can learn how to enable DMARC here. Otherwise, you will have to research how to establish DMARC protection yourself.

Email scams are only going to become more advanced over time, but that doesn’t mean you’re forced to be the victim of these attacks. You can keep yourself safe by understanding how to identify scam email addresses and spot patterns in fraud emails. Learn to employ tools such as DMARC for additional protection, and consider adopting advanced AI protective measures as they’re added to the market for even better levels of protection.

Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view of the whole system. He authors guide on the entire security posture, both physical and cyber.

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