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Cyber Attack Advanced Email Threat Protection

Introducing Advanced Email Threat Protection with Office 365!

Internet threats overshadow business communications, and get more sophisticated every day. As we rely on networked computers and the cloud, it can feel like swimming with sharks armed with only a toothpick.

The recent ransomware attack that closed down so much of the NHS is a prime example of how vulnerable we are. We rely on computers and computerised systems in all walks of life. When those systems break down, or become virtual weapons used against us, the damage is real and the cost is high.

Virus threat protection is a serious need.

Types of Computer Virus

Computer viruses come in many different guises and have various ways of finding their way in, then evading, detection. When planning virus threat protection, it helps to know what you’re up against:

  • File infectors. These attach themselves to .com or .exe files, or other executable programme files. They load when the programme loads, and are also found in email attachments or scripts.
  • Macro viruses. Macros, such as those used in Word, are susceptible to virus attack. Microsoft disabled the macro function as a default setting, but macro viruses are reappearing. In Office 2016, there is now a feature that allows organisations to have more control over macro use.
  • Overwrite viruses. These viruses overwrite files with their own code. They may target particular files or go through and overwrite everything.
  • Polymorphic viruses. A sneaky piece of malware that can change its own code without changing its function. This ability makes it harder to detect.
  • Resident viruses. These can hide in a systems RAM, and reappear even after clearing the original infection.
  • Rootkit viruses. Modern antivirus programmes scan the rootkit but earlier ones scanned only applications and files, which allowed viruses to hide. Rootkit viruses give attackers the ability to take control of a system, changing or disabling functions.
  • Boot-record or system infectors. These viruses infect the bootsector and can live on storage devices such as flash drives and memory sticks, or in the boot sector on a hard disk. They transfer when the system is rebooted. They are less common, but still around.

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

One of the easiest ways for malware, ransomware or other viruses or worms to find their way into a computer network is via email.

Microsoft provides advanced email protection against virus threats for customers with Office 365 plans and Exchange:

  • Unsafe Attachments Protection. Safe Attachment protects by putting suspicious content through a malware behavioural analyses. It uses machine learning to evaluate the content. Any suspicious attachments are then sandboxed before getting through to the recipient.
  • Protection against malicious links. Safe Links in Exchange Online protects against unsafe links by scanning and rewriting the files through Office 365. Warnings appear if the link is unsafe and the site may be blocked. Administrators can use reporting to track who clicked which links, and when.
  • Reporting and tracking links. Gain insight into the types of attacks you’re facing, and trace blocked messages to identify viruses or malware. URL trace also allows for tracking individual links in messages that have been clicked.

Office 365 Advanced Email Protection is available on various subscription plans and is a low-cost route to robust business virus protection. If you’d like more information, or want to add advanced email protection to your current Office 365 subscription, please get in touch.

If you’d like to learn more about Office 365 and System Security, get in touch!

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