Security best practices for email attachments

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Email attachments simplify sharing files and documents within a company, allowing for quick and easy distribution of information among employees. But they have also been a critical aspect of enterprise cybersecurity since they can be exploited to cause harm to the organization. This can be through unintentional insider threats such as accidentally opening a spam email attachment or sending emails from an unsecure network, or through targeted attacks like phishing or malware attacks by external entities. So, it's vital for employees to follow proper email security best practices to prevent potential data breaches and financial loss.

Data loss prevention (DLP) is the process of identifying sensitive data; monitoring its flow across the organization; and preventing its theft, loss, or misuse through unintended or unauthorized actions. The sudden rise of information security threats coupled with stringent regulatory mandates has highlighted the importance of adopting DLP practices and tools. A world-class DLP solution can protect sensitive data no matter where it's stored, how it's used, or how it's transmitted.

  • Phishing is the second most common cause
    of data breaches at 16%, costing $4.91 million per year

    - Cost of a Data Breach Report
  • 3.4 billion phishing emails are
    sent every day

    - Spring 2019 Email Fraud Landscape Report
  • 83% of organizations experienced a
    email-based phishing attack in 2022

    - State of the Phish Report

6 best practices for email attachments


Avoid opening attachments from unknown sources

When you don't recognize the sender or when attachments have suspicious file formats such as DOCM, EXE, ZIP, r09, or ARC, avoid opening them as they may contain malware designed to harm your device or steal your information.


Spot phishing emails

Phishing emails are designed to look like legitimate emails but are actually trying to steal your information. Watch out for unexpected emails from seemingly trusted sources that urge you to download attachments or open URLs.


Check for viruses

Before you send or receive an attachment, make sure you scan it with antivirus software to make sure it's not infected with any viruses.


Don't email sensitive data

PII and ePHI data should never be sent as email attachments or body texts, even to trusted sources within your organization. If you need to share this data, use a secure file sharing service that can provide end-to-end encryption, password protection, and multi-factor authentication.


Keep away from public networks

Use your own devices and secure Wi-Fi networks when sending attachments. If you are using a public network, use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data from potential hackers.


Update your software

Keep your email software, antivirus software, and operating system up to date with the latest security patches and updates to avoid vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.

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