5 Reasons to Think About AI Powered Email Security

You don’t think you can fall prey to email phishing attacks until it happens to you. Given the scope of email security threats in 2024, phishing attacks are happening at an alarming rate. According to 2023 FBI IC3 Report: business email compromise losses have jumped to nearly $3 billion.  A recent abnormal security blog outlines the scope of of the problem with email security in 2024. Organizations need a better way to protect themselves against modern email attacks.

AI Powered email security can help. The good thing about AI: it never sleeps.

Artificial intelligence is giving organizations hope of keeping pace with the rapid pace of evolving email security threats. When you utilize AI solutions to work in your environment, adapting and learning as it goes, you can keep pace with email attacks without additional effort from your team. 

If you have been investigating updating to modern email security and haven’t considered AI powered solutions, here are five reasons you should—before the next phishing attack.

Reason #1: The Classic “Indicators” of Email Attacks Have Changed

Maybe your organization believes it can spot the indicators of attacks through traditional methods. It doesn’t need AI, because you’re training your employees to spot phishing attacks and your security solutions are fairly up-to-date. That might have been true once, but the technological landscape is changing. 

One way to think about traditional “indicators” of email attacks is that they’re static. With machine learning (ML) and AI, you can go beyond static indicators like poor domain reputations or malicious attachments. Your security systems will create baselines of known-good user behavior and communication, spotting anomalies with more accuracy and dynamic insight. AI will keep you responsive to the dynamically changing threats you don’t see coming.

Reason #2: The Bad Actors are Using AI, Too

There is a cybersecurity arms race happening right now. AI is available to the masses, which means malicious actors are just as capable of using AI against you. Thanks to Generative AI, a malicious user can use code that has already been created and utilize it to create new threats.  However, the good news is you can use it too, to protect your environment

AI can train itself on thousands of instances over weeks and months. When a threat tries to infect your infrastructure, your system can be responsive enough to sense that something is amiss, and respond accordingly, and autonomously.

It works simply. Let’s take an example from Darktrace, an AI powered email security tool. In one instance, Darktrace detected multiple emails—each containing different subjects—from multiple senders. Even though these emails came from different IP addresses, they had the same autonomous system number (ASN). 

It’s difficult for static email detectors to handle an attack that sophisticated. AI, however, was capable of detecting the fact that these emails didn’t have prior relationships established. The anomalies were there to see—but only if something as smart as AI was watching.

Reason #3: Attackers Use “Generic” Tactics to Bypass Static Detection

In the example above,the sustained phishing attack example was smart enough to use generic tactics as a base. Emails were coming from different IP addresses. They might have even had generic content—nothing that looked like classic “phishing” bait. How can you keep up with tactics like this if they can even bypass human attention?

Simple. AI. If AI powered email security alerts you to a problem that you didn’t see—like the fact that these emails all came from the same ASN—then it can help you make decisions that you didn’t even know were in front of you. In doing so, AI highlights the key insights you don’t have the time to spot. That keeps your organization responsive.

Reason #4: You Need a Responsive System That “Allows the Good”

Yes, AI needs to spot the bad attacks going on. But a cybersecurity system doesn’t function well unless it allows the good. It should allow normal business emails to flow through without distraction. And that’s the problem with static detection systems—they can respond to automatic triggers in a way that disrupts the normal flow of business. While strict email security rules can help you avoid phishing attacks, they can have unforeseen costs regarding how smoothly the business flows once the system is in place.

AI is different. The self-learning AI will learn a user’s pattern of behavior. The routine work will then go through the system more easily, without setting off any alarm bells. This helps the business function normally even while AI waits in the background, learning and reacting.

Reason #5: Removing the Security Teams from the “Frontline”

Your IT security team shouldn’t spend hours every day making manual decisions in an email dashboard. If your team has to log in constantly, making individual decisions about whether threats are genuine or not, it can wear on the overall efficiency of that team. Think about it this way: would you rather your team be responsible for doing the manual labor themselves, or manage a team of drones who do the heavy lifting?

It’s more efficient to lean toward the latter. And that’s what happens with AI powered email security. The AI can do the heavy lifting of making small decisions. This keeps your team focused on the bird’s-eye view of security strategies that have a bottom-line impact on your business. The result? Your security will remain nimble and sophisticated thanks to AI. Your team will monitor your overall results and have more time to put recovery plans into place if something slips through. And at the end of the day, everyone ends up sleeping a little more soundly.

Contact Comport’s security team to discuss your options.

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