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Understanding Email Spoofing and Phishing
Understanding Email Spoofing and Phishing
Kyaw avatar
Written by Kyaw
Updated over a week ago

When you send event marketing emails using your sender domain without proper configuration, it can lead to spoofing and phishing activities. As a result, recipient servers may block all your emails, seeing them as potential threats, especially by governments, institutes, and organizations with high cybersecurity protection.

Understanding Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is a deceptive tactic used by cybercriminals to send emails that appear to originate from a trusted source. This malicious practice can lead to significant security breaches, financial losses, and damage to an organization's reputation. Understanding email spoofing, its methods, and how to prevent it is essential for individuals and businesses alike.

What is Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing involves forging the sender address on an email to make it look like it is coming from someone else, usually a trusted entity. The goal of email spoofing is to deceive the recipient into believing the email is legitimate, thereby increasing the likelihood of the recipient taking a desired action, such as clicking a malicious link, downloading an infected attachment, or providing sensitive information.

How Email Spoofing Works

Email spoofing exploits the simplicity of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which was designed without robust authentication mechanisms. This allows attackers to manipulate email headers and craft messages that appear to come from any email address.

Here’s a basic breakdown of how email spoofing works:

  1. Crafting the Email:

    • The attacker creates an email with a forged sender address, making it look like it’s from a trusted source (e.g., a colleague, a bank, or a well-known company).

  2. Manipulating Email Headers:

    • The attacker modifies the "From" field in the email header to reflect the forged sender address. This can be done using various tools and techniques available online.

  3. Sending the Spoofed Email:

    • The email is sent to the target recipient, who sees the forged sender address and believes the email is from a legitimate source.

Common Goals of Email Spoofing

  • Phishing: To trick recipients into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or personal details.

  • Spreading Malware: To distribute malicious software through infected attachments or links.

  • Business Email Compromise (BEC): To deceive employees into making unauthorized financial transactions or divulging company secrets.

  • Spamming: To send bulk emails for advertising or other purposes, often leading to the recipient’s email address being added to spam lists.

Examples of Email Spoofing

  1. Phishing Attack:

    • An email purporting to be from a bank asks the recipient to click a link to verify their account information. The link leads to a fake website designed to steal the recipient’s credentials.

  2. Business Email Compromise (BEC):

    • An email appears to come from the CEO, instructing the finance department to wire money to a fraudulent account.

  3. Malware Distribution:

    • An email claiming to be from a software provider asks the recipient to download a critical security update, which is actually malware.

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