Top 3 Ways to Protect your Microsoft 365 Email from a Spear Phisher

Ransomware attacks are increasing exponentially, with new breaches every day dominating the news headlines. This trend, unfortunately, will keep rising with more organizations migrating to a remote workforce.

laptop keyboard, spear phishing protection

Top companies continually divert billions of dollars every year to remediation and data protection but are still susceptible. Here are a few statistics of what the damage cost:

The Dirty Dozen - The 12 most Costly Phishing Attacks

  1. $100 million — Facebook and Google
  2. $75 million — Crelan Bank
  3. $61 million — FACC
  4. $50 million — Upsher-Smith Laboratories
  5. $47 million — Ubiquiti Networks
  6. $44 million — Leoni AG
  7. $31 million — Xoom Corporation
  8. $21 million — Pathé
  9. $18 million — Tecnimont SpA
  10. $17 million — The Scoular Company
  11. $11.8 million — MacEwan University
  12. $3 million — Mattel

Harmful entities use these statistics as an incentive to develop new and more sophisticated ways to cause data breaches. 78% of Microsoft 365 administrators have reported successful security breaches, citing email phishing as the leading cause. Cloud inboxes are more vulnerable than on-premises email platforms. Enterprises using Microsoft 365 consistently are reporting higher levels of successful phishing attacks.

So, What is a Business Email Compromise Attack (BEC Attack)?

Spear phishing, impersonation, and whaling are methods used to convince the end-user to release money or provide sensitive account information.

The malicious entity utilizes a Phishing URL embedded in an email from Microsoft to verify credentials. This leads the unsuspecting user to a cooked website. Looking like a legitimate website the email gets through, then 5 minutes later, the attackers redirect the URL from the cooking site to a known Microsoft phishing site. This method is called delayed detonation.

The FBI reports that Cyber-Enabled Financial Fraud on the Rise Globally:

If you believe you’re a victim of a Business Email Compromised scam (BEC scam), report it here:

Here are the Top 3 Ways to Protect your Microsoft 365 email from a Spear Phisher

#1 Layering Inbox Detection and Response (IDR)

  • Use IDR solutions to continuously scan all inbound and outbound emails in all folders, and automatically follow links. The process checks URLs for favicons, mismatched logos, legitimate site maps, domain owners, security certificates, even regionalized code - all indicators that help flag, “Is this a valid email or is it phishing?”
  • When threats are uncovered, they’re automatically deleted with every copy across every Microsoft 365 mailbox.
  • What happens to the delayed detonation attack? The Inbox Security system follows the URL to a known phishing website. The system identifies and removes the suspicious message from the inbox (and from all infected Microsoft 365 mailboxes across the organization).

#2 Machine Learning for a Better Phishing Net

Use machine learning to keep pace with the constantly changing evasive phishing attacks.

Email Machine Learning Solutions include:

  • Sender Behavior Analysis: detects imposter or spoofed emails, using header analysis, cousin or look-alike domain detection, as well as natural language processing to determine whether the language in the body of an email might be indicative of social engineering.
  • URL Behavior Analysis: protects users from credential theft by extracting URLs from emails and examining the destination web page for evidence that it might be a phishing site.
  • Mailbox Behavior Analysis: profiles mailbox activity to create a baseline of trusted behaviors and relationships. Who sends emails to whom and at what time of day? What volumes? What do the contents look like? And many others. Mailboxes are then continuously monitored for anomalous behaviors and predictive analytics are used to detect threats.
  • Incident Analysis: Enables rapid investigation, containment, response and remediation of threats. Incidents are created whenever an email contravenes a security policy or is reported by the user.

#3 Crowdsource threats from your Employees

Inbox Detection and Response (IDR) security layers can gather unique threat intelligence from employees.

The IDR collects critical feedback from all users’ Microsoft 365 mailboxes. Over time, the IDR engine gets smarter, enriched by the instincts and critical thinking of your front-line employees.

When employees provide feedback directly within the IDR, they reduce the burden on the IT help desk.


In conclusion, we discussed the Top 3 Ways to Protect your Emails from a Spear Phisher.

  1. Layering Inbox Detection and Response (IDR)
  2. Machine Learning for a Better Phishing Net
  3. Crowdsource threats from your Employees

NetX Information Systems uses Cyren, a trusted Inbox Security solution that is unsurpassed. With global security cloud processing of 25 billion email and web security transactions every day, Cyren identifies nine (9) new threats and blocks over 3,000 known threats each second. Every Microsoft 365 mailbox is safeguarded and managed 24/7.

Complete the form today, so we can begin to help defend and protect your organizations’ sensitive Microsoft 365 emails from malicious entities trying to exploit your systems.

    Contact us to learn more about our solutions for email security.