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Communication is one of the ways that cybercriminals use to form attack chains to exploit an organization's security. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) recorded 4.7 million attacks in 2022, a 150% increase yearly since 2019. The APWG also noted that "...email-borne attacks such as Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams have increased by 59% in Q3 2022. Worryingly, advance fee fraud scams initiated via email increased by 1,000% during Q3 2022."

Email scanning has been developed to address this overload of email phishing attacks. As an automated process, email scanning can cope with the vast amounts of daily emails entering and leaving a corporate email server. Email scanning is a vital tool in the fight against viruses, malware, and spam.

Scanning detects malicious content and attempts to circumvent your human firewall by evaluating the URLs and attachments in each email before the user receives it. This evaluation step identifies potential malicious attacks, stopping email containing malicious content before it reaches an employee inbox. By using intelligent technologies and multiple layers of detection, email scanning protects your organization, employees, and customers.

What is an Email Scanner?

An email scanner service examines inbound and outbound email messages for viruses, malware, and spam. Email scanning software checks every email that enters or leaves a corporate network. Advanced scanning software inspects these emails, looking for identifying characteristics and other evidence that an email contains malware or other suspicious content, including potential spam emails. Email scanning software automatically checks for malicious content, infected attachments and dangerous links. Email scanning is carried out under the control of scanning rules, threat intelligence, and internal security and privacy policies.

Advanced email scanners use a layered approach to email scanning. This is to capture increasingly sophisticated malicious emails designed to evade detection by conventional email scanners. The types of layers of detection technologies include:

Harvesting/Dictionary Attack Protection: Filters based on specific words or content detection. If these words are found in an email, the scanner will block/quarantine the email.

Real-Time Blacklists (RBLs) and Greylists: A series of RBLs and greylists are used by an email scanner as a baseline to identify and block spam. These lists are typically maintained by specialist organizations and are collated from recognized spam-supporting ISPs.

Allowlists (Safe Listing): Conversely, a global Whitelist page provides the controls over allowing safe messages past the email scanner.

Bayesian Analysis: This is an essential layer of protection as Bayesian Analysis is a self-learning system that continuously improves as it learns. This is a vital part of an email scanning engine as it can capture emerging threats not yet added to RBLs.

Auto Learning: The use of AI and machine learning is essential for an email scanner as zero-day threats evolve. AI and ML are used to protect against emerging cyber threats using pattern detection in real-time.

Heuristics: Detects viruses by examining code for suspicious identifying elements.

Email scanning solutions can be managed by an organization's IT department or by engaging a managed service provider (MSP). By using an advanced email scanner, an organization helps to create a more secure email environment. They protect employees and users from harmful links, malicious URLs, and dangerous attachments.  

How can SpamTitan help with Email Scanning?

 

SpamTitan is an advanced email scanning solution, and the success rate of SpamTitan speaks for itself, with a spam catch rate of 99.99%. 

SpamTitan is an email scanning solution designed for any sized business and can be hosted in-house or delivered via an MSP. SpamTitan is an advanced email scanning solution that utilizes multiple layers of integrated email security filters; these layers act as increasingly fine-grained sieves to identify and block malicious content and spam emails. 

SpamTitan minimizes the interruption of email flow, which is essential for employee productivity and business continuity. SpamTitan can achieve these fine-grained email controls by using machine learning to accurately and quickly analyze the probability that an email is or is not phishing or spam.

SpamTitan uses an ecosystem approach to email scanning by applying multiple layers of analysis, robust authentication, anti-virus protection, and safe listing and blocklisting. This combination of protective layers ensures that emails are comprehensively checked before being released to an employee inbox.

SpamTitan's 360-degree email scanning is essential for effective email protection and spam blocking. In an era of AI-enabled spam and phishing, organizations need intelligent email scanning solutions to help protect against spam, ransomware, malware, and URLs that take employees to malicious websites.

Features of SpamTitan Anti-Spam Service

  • Cloud-based, easy to deploy, administer, and update via an MSP or in-house.
  • 99.99% catch rate for spam, viruses, malware, and other email threats; 0.003% false positive rate.
  • Anti-Spam Engine provides centralized control of anti-spam policies and permissions.
  • Automated email scanning prevents accidents and human error.
  • Advanced reporting for actionable insight on email security.
  • Comprehensive reports with at-a-glance views; ideal for presentations to senior management.
  • Highly flexible and granular solution suitable for both small and big businesses.
  • Easy to set up, simple to configure, and up and running in minutes.
  • A central web console uses privileged access control for administrators.
  • Fully automated updates, centrally deployed and managed; updates are easy to roll- out to end-user devices and remote workers.
  • Supports existing identity systems and robust authentication, including dynamic and aliases, file recipient verification, and SASL authentication.
  • Support for local language.
  • No hardware or endpoint software is required, and it is operating system agnostic.

SpamTitan Advanced Layers for Email Malware Scanning

As well as the baseline filters used by an email malware scanner/phishing email scanner, SpamTitan also utilizes smart filter layers to detect even the most sophisticated of potential spam and malicious emails:

Heuristic Filter: Heuristic filters use intelligent technologies such as machine learning to identify spam and phishing emails. This methodology for scanning emails uses a scoring system to enforce policies on incoming and outgoing emails. If an email hits a score mapped to a policy, a rule will block the email, and the scanner service will quarantine it. Heuristic filters are excellent for handling emerging phishing threats.

Collaborative Spam Fingerprint Checks: Based on “community intelligence.” The data collated from millions of data points is used to build up a database of malicious and spam email “fingerprints.” The phishing email scanner then applies these identifying features to block malicious emails.

RBL Tests (Real-|Time Blackhole List): Checks for known spam IP addresses and updates filters as new spoof sites appear.

SURBL Tests: Detect websites that are known to appear in spam emails.

Further Features of SpamTitan Advanced Phishing Email Scanner

What is an Email Malware Scanner?

 

Researchers have found that 1.2% of emails are phishing emails. When you think of this in terms of the volume of emails per day, that's around 3.4 billion phishing emails every day. Amongst this vast volume of malicious emails contain malware, including ransomware. A Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found 236.7 million ransomware attacks worldwide in the first half of 2022.

The increasing threat of malware-laden emails is partly driven by "malware-for-hire" schemes run by cyber criminals. These ready-made malware and phishing kits make it easy for those with criminal intent to send out malware in a phishing email.

An email malware scanner provides the technology to interrogate emails as they enter and leave the corporate network. Email malware scanning involves looking deeply into email content and attachments, looking for malware signals. As malware evolves to evade conventional tools, such as anti-virus and traditional scanning of email techniques, email malware scanners must perform more complex and sophisticated detection.

Did You Know?

90%

cyber attacks begin with phishing

10 minutes

to seamlessly install PhishTitan

$10.5 trillion

estimated global cybercrime cost

295 days

to stop & spot a phishing attack


What is a Phishing Email Scanner?

Phishing email threats come in various forms, from Business Email Compromise (BEC) to Clone phishing and Barrel phishing to spear phishing, and so on; all forms of phishing can result in devastating consequences if even a single employee takes the phishing bait. The volume of phishing attacks has increased year-on-year to 2022, when 71% of companies experienced a phishing attack. A 2023 report from IBM warns that the top vector for a cyber-attack is phishing, with 41% of attacks using phishing to initiate attacks.

A phishing email scanner is an integrated set of advanced technologies to detect and prevent phishing emails from entering an employee's inbox. The phishing email scanning solution uses layers of tactical technologies to capture email phishing threats. The phishing email scanner interrogates all inbound and outbound emails, exploring the content and attachments in an email. Suppose the scanner detects suspicious content, such as a malicious URL. In that case, the email scanning solution will block and quarantine the email to prevent it from landing in an inbox and posing a potential threat.

What Threats are Prevented with an Email Scanning Solution?

A variety of email-borne cyber threats are prevented by SpamTitan's email scanning software for inbound emails, including the following:

Malicious URLs & Attachments

Malicious URLs are one method cyber-criminals use to trick employees into performing an act that results in their gain. For example, if clicked, a malicious URL may take the employee to an infected website, or a spoof site used to steal login credentials. Email scanning software allows an organization to check for malicious URLs within an email that is inbound into a corporate network. The email scanning software checks any incoming emails containing URLs (s) against a database of known malicious or inappropriate links. Advanced URL scanners, like SpamTitan, also apply additional layers of protection to find emerging and unknown threats. SpamTitan uses a large corpus of hundreds of millions of crowd-sourced data points f to build up a profile of nefarious URLs. Once a dangerous URL is detected in an email, the threat is neutralized by blocking and quarantining the email. If the email is deemed safe after further investigation, it is released to the user. Email scanning solutions like SpamTitan perform this process quickly so employee productivity is not negatively impacted.

Can you scan a URL for viruses?

Phishing emails often contain a URL that, if clicked, takes an employee to a malicious website infected with a virus. These websites often use exploit kits to detect if a user's device is vulnerable, then take advantage of that flaw to install malware, including ransomware. The phishers use common behaviors such as the urge to conform and concern about missing out on an event or similar to trick the email recipient into clicking the link. A single click will take the employee to an infected website, which can lead to malware and ransomware infection. 

Email scanning software identifies URLs used to phish employees. Advanced phishing email scanners, like SpamTitan, will provide "time of click protection." This feature detects polymorphic evasion tactics used with sophisticated phishing emails. Once detected, the phishing email scanner replaces the email links, and the links are sent to an inspection site to check the validity of the website behind the link. If the website is indeed a phishing website, the user may click the link but will not be able to open the site.

SpamTitan is an advanced email phishing scanner that scans inbound emails in Microsoft Outlook in real time, looking for malicious URLs and attachments that may be infected with malware. Any suspicious emails will be quarantined instead of entering the client's inbox.

Email Virus Scanning / Malware & Spam Scanning

Email virus and malware scanning is augmented in SpamTitan with anti-spam checks. Spam may not seem as malicious as phishing emails, but it can cause disruption to employee productivity and cause inbox overload. A Radicati report warns that malware phishing emails are a major email-borne threat for organizations of all sizes. The report adds that these attacks are often multi-part and complex, using "blended attacks" based on worms and other self-propagating malware; these attacks usually start with spam email. Radicati recommends using anti-spam technology, stating that spam email scanners are "highly effective." To address the challenges of this multi-part malware/spam phishing email environment, an intelligent approach that uses multiple layers of email filters, including machine learning, is needed.

To protect an organization against the dangers of spam, a spam scanner must be flexible and comprehensive enough to:

  • Prevent malware attacks.
  • Stop inboxes from being cluttered by unwanted emails (Spam).
  • Prevent social engineering attacks in email that can lead to virus and malware infection that exposes data.

SpamTitan's email virus scanning is intelligent enough to capture malware-laden emails and spam. Using double anti-virus protection and applying machine learning, SpamTitan catches 99.99% of spam entering an enterprise network. So, your business does not need to worry about malware and spam ending up in employees’ inboxes.

Social Engineering Attacks

Human-centric cyber-attacks are now an established successful method that cybercriminals use to attack organizations. Many cyber-attacks, including Business Email Compromise (BEC) and ransomware infections, begin with the manipulation of the behavior of someone in an organization. This tactic of exploiting natural behavior is known as social engineering.  

Social engineering is one of the most challenging cyber-attacks to prevent. When an employee is socially engineered, their behavior is being manipulated for nefarious reasons. A 2022 report from Cyber Security Hub found that 75% of respondents placed social engineering and phishing as the top threats to their organization. Social engineering is becoming even more of a threat with the advent of generative AI; research from CheckPoint identifies AI tools such as ChatGPT are being used to create convincing phishing emails.

Targeted emails, such as spear phishing, also use social engineering tricks to gain entry to a network by stealing login credentials. But social engineering is often implicit in phishing, the phishers manipulating natural behaviors such as the urge to click, wanting to be a good employee and get a job done, and concerns and fears.

This level of sophistication in tricking employees into doing the bidding of a cybercriminal makes identifying social engineering attempts challenging. 

SpamTitan's email scanner service scans emails for phishing and can identify carefully crafted social engineering-based emails. Once identified, SpamTitan blocks and quarantines these dangerous emails that could be general phishing or more targeted spear-phishing attacks.

Ransomware

Ransomware has remained a severe threat to all types of organizations for many years. This situation looks set to continue with recent research by Akamai showing that ransomware has increased by 143% when comparing Q1 2022 with Q1 2023. According to research, much of this increase can be attributed to the exploitation of zero-day vulnerabilities. Ransomware is insidious and highly damaging. Costs of remediation, which include the ransom and the loss of data and reputation, are, on average, $4.5 million, according to IBM. Ransomware is often delivered via phishing or the chain of events to initiate infection, beginning with a phishing email.

The risk of ransomware attacks is significantly reduced with SpamTitan's email malware scanner that detects malware, including ransomware. The malware may be hidden in attachments, identified by SpamTitan, but a malicious URL in email content could also open the door to ransomware infection. SpamTitan scrutinizes all content, including body text and attachments, to identify malicious elements. The advanced email scanning service identifies and blocks potential ransomware attacks that would devastate an organization. 

Potential Data Breaches

Data is valuable, and cybercriminals know this; anything of value becomes a target for nefarious persons. The 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that almost three-quarters of data breaches involve a human being. The costs of a data breach are also concerning, with average remediation costs hitting, on average, $4.5 million.  

Data breaches have various causes, but some of the most common include the following:

Inbound Emails and Data Breaches 

Phishing: Phishing emails are the start of data theft. Data loss caused by phishing typically includes login credentials. Phishing emails will contain a URL that, if clicked, will take an employee to a spoof website that looks exactly like a brand they would use. For example, Microsoft 365 is a brand often spoofed by phishers. Once on the site, the employee will be tricked into 'logging in' to the Office app, and the cybercriminal will then steal the login credentials. Once the phisher has the credentials, they can access the real Office App, steal data directly, or use the login to escalate privileges using known tactics and move laterally across the network, hoovering up data as they go.

Malware Infection: Phishing emails can also lead to malware infection, including ransomware. Malware can then be used to slowly exfiltrate data, making it difficult to detect the loss until it is too late. Ransomware is also used to steal data, not just encrypt it.

Outbound Emails and Data Loss

Data can also be lost when emails leave an organization. Accidental or malicious loss of data via email can be prevented using Data Loss Prevention (DLP).

Advanced malware protection solutions like SpamTitan prevent data breaches because they scan for malware and phishing URLs. SpamTitan uses multi-layered detection techniques to spot even zero-day threats. Phishing and malware detection look for identifying behaviors used by modern malware, including evasive varieties like polymorphic malware. SpamTitan uses sandboxing and AI-enabled phishing detection to capture emerging threats. 

Spoofing Attacks

Spoofing attacks mimic well-known brands to trick users into thinking the phishing email is genuine. The three most popular spoofed brands in 2023 were Microsoft, Paypal, and Facebook. Microsoft was famous for credential theft to allow cybercriminals to gain access to the Microsoft 365 environment to steal data.

SpamTitan can identify email accounts that may be false through Real-Time Blacklists (RBLs). Any email account or domain identified on blocklists will be blocked with SpamTitan's spam filter. 

"90% of companies have security gaps in their M365 environment."

What is Outbound Email Scanning?
Outbound emails can also be a security vulnerability unless controlled. Security issues with outbound emails include: 

Data Loss: Unauthorized sensitive data could be sent in an email, resulting in non-compliance with regulations, brand damage, and loss of proprietary information. 

Malware or Spam Content: Emails can accidentally or maliciously contain malware or spam.

Spambot Hijacking: Spambots can cause damage to a business, decreasing company email delivery rates and damaging reputation. 

SpamTitan Data Loss Prevention (DLP) provides an outbound email scanner that ensures data is not leaked, malware or spam is detected and sandboxed, and Spambots do not abuse your email domains. The email will be stopped if an outbound email contains content that is not allowed to leave the company under corporate rules. Outbound email scanning ensures spam emails, or emails containing malware, are not sent from an organization’s email accounts or domains. Unknowingly to an employee, a corporate email account can be compromised by cybercriminals and use an organization’s domain to send malware and ransomware to clients and customers. This can harm an organization’s reputation and may result in corporate email accounts or an entire domain being blocked.
How can Outbound Email Scanning Prevent Domain Blocklisting?

Domain / IP Blocklists are updated in real-time and contain millions of blocked domains and email addresses that have been reported as having been used for unwanted activity, such as the sending of spam emails. If emails are sent from a blocked account, domain, or IP address, those emails will either be directed to a quarantine folder, deleted, or rejected.

If a business has its domain added to a spam blocklist, not only do essential emails to clients and customers not get through, but it can also be challenging and costly to revert a domain blocklisting.

To prevent domain / IP blocklisting, email scanning software is required. SpamTitan email scanner not only scans inbound emails in real-time but can detect if the email account is being used to send spam emails and emails with malicious malware. SpamTitan will block these emails, stopping them from being delivered to the targeted user. Nevertheless, not only does SpamTitan protect the intended recipient, but it also protects the domain IP and the business's reputation.
 

Try SpamTitan Plus+ Email Scanning Software for Free

Don’t just take our word for it. Why not try SpamTitan Plus+ for free to see for yourself?

SpamTitan Plus is a leading-edge, A.I.-driven email scanning software and an anti-phishing solution powered by zero-day threat protection. SpamTitan Plus scans emails and inspects all URLs to identify links to malicious websites. It also rewrites all URLs and provides time-of-click analysis to protect against links to websites that appear to be safe on delivery but are later weaponized with malware. Learn more about SpamTitan Plus.

Susan Morrow Bio

Susan Morrow Bio

  • DATA PROTECTION
  • EMAIL PHISING
  • EMAIL SECURITY

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Does Email Scanning Software Do?

Email scanning software allows only legitimate and safe emails to reach employee inboxes. An email scanning service is a process of filtering emails that are inbound to the user’s inbox and outgoing from the company server. Inbound email scanning checks and filters the incoming emails for malware and suspicious links. Outbound email scanning software scans the user’s outgoing emails to ensure it adheres to the organization’s policy.

Why Email Scanning is Important?

It only takes one click of a link on a malicious email to allow malware into your network, & the cost of such an error on a business, can be enormous. Email scanning also assesses email links & attachments for possible malicious content including suspicious domains & other signs of email spoofing often used in BEC attacks.

What is the Best Email Malware Scanner for Businesses?

SpamTitan is an email protection system that blocks malware, phishing, & viruses from reaching your inbox. It scans mail for email borne threats & blocks them before reaching the user. SpamTitan Cloud is one of the most versatile malware scanning & filtering solutions available.

Why Use Email Scanning Service for Incoming Email?

With email scanning technology, organizations can review all inbound email to check for malware, viruses, phishing & spam. Email scanning software evaluates links & email attachments to identify malicious URLs and weaponized attachments that can be part of a phishing or ransomware attack.

What is Email Malware Protection?

With new threats emerging daily, having a email malware protection software in place can prevent these viruses disrupting your business causing downtime and impacting productivity.

What Does Email Scanning Mean When it Comes to Spam and Malware?

Email scanning software provides the tools to check every email that enters or leaves a corporate network. The scanning software looks for evidence of malware and other suspicious content, such as spam. Email scanning software automatically checks for infected attachments and malicious links. The scanning rules are based on threat intelligence and internal security and privacy policies.

Can You Scan a URL for Malware?

Yes, email scanning software allows an organization to check if a URL is malicious. The email scanning software checks an incoming URL contained in an email against a database of known malicious or inappropriate links. The email can then either be blocked or allowed. Advanced URL scanners use crowd-sourced information from hundreds of millions of users to build up a knowledge base of nefarious URLs. This provides the intelligence to stop new and emerging email-borne threats.

Can You Scan a URL for Viruses?

Phishing emails often use URLs to link to malicious websites that are infected with a virus. Email scanning software looks for URLs used in phishing. Advanced URL scanning software will offer “time of click protection.” This is a feature that identifies polymorphic evasion tactics and replaces email links; links are sent to an inspection site to check the validity of the website associated with the link. If the website is a phishing site, the user will not be able to navigate to the site.

What is Outbound Email Scanning?

Emails can be scanned as they are sent out (outbound) and received by employees of an organization (inbound) emails. Outbound scanning stops any potential spam emails, or emails containing malware, from being sent from an organization's email accounts or domains. This is important as a company domain can be blocklisted if it is found to be sending out spam or malicious emails. Once blocklisted, a company will find its reputation is damaged, and company emails will be quarantined or sent to spam.

What is Outbound Email Filtering?

Emails are scanned as they leave the corporate email account for any signs of malware or spam. If an email is found to contain content that is not allowed under corporate rules, the email will be stopped. Outbound email filtering can also enforce corporate rules to prevent data loss (Data Loss Prevention or DLP). DLP is an important aspect of email security as it prevents sensitive, damaging, proprietary information from leaving the enterprise without consent, supporting regulatory compliance.

What is a Phishing Email Scanner?

Phishing emails can contain malware in attachments or malicious links that lead to malware infection and/or data and credential theft. A phishing email scanner scans for known phishing signals. Advanced phishing email scanners will use AI and machine learning to detect emerging threats and zero day attacks. Emails identified as phishing will be quarantined or removed.

What is an Email Security Scanner?

Email security scanners that scan and detect emails that contain signals of phishing, malware, and other email-borne threats. Some advanced email security scanners will also identify spam emails and stop them from cluttering inboxes. Email security scanners use layers of detection, including AI, to identify threats such as zero days. GEOBLOCKING is another layer used to scan emails for known malicious IP addresses or countries.

What is an Email Spam Scanner?

Spam is a serious issue in modern enterprises; email spam scanners will identify spam emails and stop them from entering an employee’s inbox. Advanced email spam scanners use layers of spam filtering technologies to capture spam. These technologies include artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and filter spam emails. 

How to Choose Email Scanner Software?

Evaluation of email scanner software should include the following questions: Does the email scanner have catch rates of 99% and above? Does the email scanner use advanced technologies to detect emerging and zero day threats? Is the email scanning software cloud-based? Is the email scanning software cost effective?

Can you Scan Emails for Malware?

Yes, emails can be scanned to identify the presence of malware; malware and viruses typically arrive as an attachment or indirectly via a malicious URL linked to a phishing website. Email scanning software uses a variety of technologies, such as GEOBLOCKING, URL rewriting, and AI to identify malware in an email. Once malware is identified, the email will be quarantined or removed to prevent infection.

What is a Business Email Virus Checker?

Businesses of all sizes and sectors are at risk from virus infection. Business email virus checkers can be deployed and managed by an MSP (managed service provider) or the business. When deployed, the business email virus checker will run in the background without impacting employee productivity. Business email virus checkers will stop malware, virus, and spam, reducing your organization's risk of experiencing a cyber-attack or reputation damage.

What is an Advanced Email Security Scan?

An email security scan is an automated check performed on inbound and outbound emails to identify malicious elements. The email security scan will identify malware, viruses, spam, and other email-borne nefarious content. Advanced email security scanning uses corporate security policies to stop sensitive information from being sent. Advanced email security scanning will also deploy multiple layers of threat detection, some based on AI and machine learning.

How Do Email Scanning Tools Work, and How are they Deployed?

Email scanning tools are deployed either using on-premise physical devices or as-a-Service as a cloud-based solution. Multiple layers of protection, including Collaborative spam fingerprint checks, RBL tests (real-time blackhole list), and Bayesian analysis, are used to check for signals of content associated with spam, malware, zero-day threats, phishing, social engineering, etc. When a suspicious email is detected, it is stopped before it can enter an employee's inbox. 

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