Email attacks are among the most common on businesses of all types and are typically characterised by an attempt to steal money, information, or data. They’re usually in the form of phishing or spoofing attacks, a method that convinces the recipient that they’re talking to someone they know or trust. It’s a pretty sophisticated method of attack that accounts for around 50% of all monetary losses to cybercrime and is the reason why Microsoft 365 prioritises email security through its Defender programme – and why Office 365 service providers recommend it.

With phishing or spoofing, attackers may create an exact spoof of a user or organisation that which the recipient has a relationship with. For example, you may receive an email from what appears to be the accounts department of one of your suppliers, when in fact it’s come from an account controlled by the attacker. The email will look very similar to that of your contact, but will in fact be fake. Microsoft 365 Defender has sought to prevent these attacks in three ways, meaning Microsoft 365 providers can effectively boost security for their clients.

The first is by examining hundreds of signals from each email and leveraging artificial intelligence to block spoofing or phishing emails before they reach the inbox of you and your users. This protects you and them against user impersonation and keeps your information safe and secure.

Secondly, you can add internal and external contacts to a safe list, ensuring that messages that impersonate said contacts are blocked to protect against domain impersonation. This is particularly helpful if you interact regularly with internal and external C-Suites and accounting departments, who are especially prone to impersonation.

And thirdly, because the attacks are becoming harder to spot, Microsoft has added a mailbox intelligence feature that uses AI to determine email patterns with frequent contacts. This capability helps to provide personalised protection for each user by checking for legitimate and spoofed emails by using pattern recognition. It does this by using hundreds of other data points to create implicit authentication signals and determine if the message may be designed to deceive the recipient.

­­Threat detection and prevention is an important part of your overall security approach.  By using Microsoft 365 Defender and working alongside Office 365 managed service providers, SMEs can form a robust security infrastructure to protect their emails, and prevent the theft of data, credentials, and finances. Nutbourne is a licensed Microsoft 365 service provider. For more information on this and other services we provide, contact us at +44 (0) 203 137 7273 or visit: