How a Misaddressed Email Can Lead to a Security Breach

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated as hackers continue to find loopholes to gather information and use it against their victims. With new digital threats occurring at a rapid pace, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant when connecting to the internet.

Despite the warning, many don’t realize the potential consequences of sending an email to the wrong contact; however, when it comes to data security, a misaddressed email can seriously impact an organization. Businesses, especially those that are highly regulated like in finance and healthcare, need to be ready in the event a misaddressed email ends up in the wrong hands.

For instance, think of a time you accidentally dialed the wrong number. It may have been embarrassing, yet, you probably didn’t overthink the mistake. Sending a misaddressed email that contains private information about a patient, client or a company cannot be brushed over. Further, the misuse of CC and BCC functions could expose your entire database to potential hackers.

If a hospital were to accidentally leak confidential patient information to the wrong person, that health care system could face serious reputational damage if the incident was reported in the media. The same goes for company information such as trade secrets; if it were to fall into the wrong hands, the damage could be irrepressible.

A misaddressed email can be caused by a simple missed character in the address or pressing send too soon. The information that was once confidential is now sitting in the wrong inbox, perhaps an unknown individual or worse, a cyber criminal.

You are probably asking yourself by now, “so what is the solution?” For starters, a strong security strategy will prevent data loss before it occurs. For large corporations, it is important to implement staff training on email security best practices to mitigate against potential data loss. Cyber security solutions that use machine learning to monitor employee behavior and intervene to stop a breach can also be effective.

Further, tools that prompt email users to double check their emails based on a set parameter can also be helpful in preventing a message from being sent out in error. The takeaway here is that organizations need to implement a plan to increase awareness and improve email culture so that data remains safe and secure, the way it was intended.