10 Email Threats You Should Be Aware of in 2022

Emails have provided us with a great advantage, from sending in an application to your bank, to submitting a presentation to your manager – everything can be done conveniently through an email. But, the increasing reliance on emails has also opened up an easy route for cybercriminals to launch attacks. As per reports, around 91% of cyber attacks originate from emails.

But, why is email the number one target medium for cybercriminals to unleash several types of attacks? There are several reasons. First, email platforms have wide usage. All types of businesses and institutions use email as a medium for communicating internally and externally. Moreover, email platforms have several small and large vulnerabilities, which hackers can easily exploit to launch their attacks and create a host of security risks.

No matter what industry you find yourself in, be it the healthcare industry, Federal Government, non-profit, corporation, or any organization within the private sector, critical infrastructure, company assets, revenue, personal records, and your reputation can all be damaged by corrupted email attachments, ransomware attacks, malware infections, and many more threats and suspicious activities. 

As cyber criminals are adopting new methods to attack unsuspecting victims, it’s important for people to understand every threat they may face. To help in this endeavor, we have listed 10 email threats that you should be aware of in 2022.


1. URL Phishing

URL phishing is a common security threat that targets email accounts. Criminals use this method to obtain sensitive information from users, like login credentials and passwords. The hackers trick recipients by sending legitimate-looking emails urging them to click an embedded link that takes them to a fake website. For example, they may pose as a known company and tell you you need to reset your account password because of a security breach and provide a link for the same.

Phishing attacks can be equally disastrous for individuals and businesses. Make sure not to click any random link without checking the authenticity of the source. For example, if you find any misspellings in the domain name of the sender’s email, it’s not genuine. These are more than just potential risks; they should serve as huge red flags and a blaring megaphone, to alert you to real danger. 


2. Spam Emails

Spam or junk emails are usually sent in bulk to many recipients. While businesses use this type of low-cost email for commercial purposes, these can also be used by scammers to gain access to your mobile devices or computers. These can threaten private or public businesses, government agencies, education, and all other sectors. Mistakes and human error are commonplace everywhere. So, if you don’t train your crew to avoid these types of emails, large-scale security incidents can wreak havoc on your company. 

Most major email service providers have inbuilt filters that help identify potential spam mail and separate them from your regular emails. You can find them in the spam folder. But, sometimes, a few spam emails may slip into your regular inbox. If you receive an email from an unknown source, make sure not to click on any embedded links or download any attachments.


3. Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Business email compromise or BEC is a type of cybercrime that usually targets businesses that conduct financial transactions online. The number of cases where cybercriminals have defrauded both small and large organizations in this manner has been rising rapidly in recent years.

Scammers can target companies in different ways. They may send an email impersonating the CEO directing employees to make a financial transaction or act as a vendor and forward a fake invoice for clearance. And if they are able to compromise the account of an employee, they can replace the payment details of existing invoices with their own. In some cases, the cybercriminal may even collect confidential business information and attempt to sell it on the dark web. This can lead to huge losses for the affected companies.

business owner dealing with email threats

4. Malware

Malware are viruses or malicious software that can infect and potentially damage your computer systems. Malware attacks often target businesses to steal data or disrupt operations. These are usually sent as malicious attachments or links via phishing emails and are often programmed to download more viruses into the computers they infect.

Some of this malware enables the attacker to remotely access or control your computer. This can put all your files and personal information at risk. So, avoid interacting with emails asking you to take any action by generating a sense of urgency. Also, never download any suspicious attachments before scanning them for viruses, and make sure you’re using the best antivirus software available. 


5. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware cyber criminals employ to gain control of your data. Upon infecting your computer, this malicious software encrypts all your data, making you unable to access it unless you pay the ransom determined by the hacker. These threats are universal. Attacks happen in the United States, Europe, Asia, and everywhere else in the world. 

Usually, the ransom demand is accompanied by a time limit within which you need to pay the ransom. In case you cannot pay, you either lose your data forever, or need to pay a substantially higher amount to free it. This is a growing threat that can totally paralyze businesses, put intellectual property at risk, compromise medical records, and leave businesses without the information they need to operate successfully. 


6. Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks use psychological manipulation to make victims divulge confidential information or perform activities that compromise the security of their accounts or computer.

Hackers employ these techniques to launch sophisticated attacks based on substantial research of the victim’s background, which may even be able to fool a well-informed person. These emails usually create a sense of urgency or panic, urging the victim to respond within a given time limit. Many common methods of cyber attacks use social engineering to trick unsuspecting users.


7. Scamming

Email scamming refers to the use of different strategies by scammers to defraud them of a sum of money or steal personal information. Some techniques used by scammers include sending emails mentioning fund transfers, lottery wins, job opportunities, inheritance details, and so on.

Often these emails ask you to provide personal details like your name, phone number, address, credit card details, and so on to proceed with the required formalities. Or, they may ask for a ‘security payment’ for some reason. Unfortunately, several users fall victim to such scams, losing their savings in the process. These scams can affect anyone, from individual online users, in-house staff, and your remote workforce. 


8. Brand Impersonation

Brand impersonation is a type of email scam where the scammer impersonates brands or websites you engage with to fool you into revealing personal information. For example, you may receive an email from a scammer posing as Google or Microsoft saying that they identified a potential security threat and have locked your account for protection. This may be accompanied by an embedded link that you need to click to restore your account.

An unaware user will click the link and input their credentials on the fake webpage, giving the scammers access to their data. These are usually done as mass campaigns, so even if a small percentage of users fall victim to the scam, the cybercriminal gains access to a sizable pool of credentials that they can use for future scams.

employees discussing email threats

9. Conversation Hijacking

Conversation hijacking is a cybercrime technique in which scammers gain access to ongoing business conversation threads and use these to spread malware. Usually, the hacker first gains access to an employee’s account and goes through ongoing email threads to identify the best way of sliding in a convincing message with a disguised malicious link or attachment.

As the new email comes from a recognized and trusted source, other recipients are unlikely to detect the attack, and may end up compromising their accounts too.


10. Lateral Phishing

In lateral phishing, scammers use already compromised accounts of users to forward malicious emails to their contacts. Other users usually don’t view emails received from close contacts with suspicion, which makes this internet scam very dangerous. As a result, this can be a serious cybersecurity threat for businesses.


Summing Up

So, these were 10 very common email threats that you need to be aware of. By taking steps in the right direction, you can protect yourself from such scams and protect your most important data and assets.

For starters, make sure you have strong passwords and change them regularly. Also, set up multi-factor authentication, or two-factor authentication, and activate sign-in notifications for all the applications you use for business and personal communication. This will ensure that you receive notifications on your personal devices every time you or someone else logs into your account from unrecognized devices. 

Businesses must regularly check their security systems for vulnerabilities and deal with them by inserting security patches to protect against cyber threats. Use updated, trusted antivirus software, and partner with an excellent IT and digital security service provider to make sure every aspect of your data is lock-tight.


Tech Masters helps business owners protect their data, streamline their workflow, and grow their business with individually tailored IT and security solutions. Connect with us today to learn about our amazing 3 Month Free Trial with our Enterprise MSP Program. 

To learn more about email threats, check out our frequently asked questions below. 






What are the common threats in email?

There are several techniques scammers use to gain access to your personal information or defraud you of a sizable sum of money. Some of the most common threats include the following.

URL phishing

Spam emails

Business email compromise



Social engineering attacks


Brand impersonation

Conversation hijacking

Lateral phishing


Is spam a threat to email security?

Yes, spam emails are a security threat, as these can trick users into revealing personal and financial information. Some spam emails may also be embedded with malicious links or attachments that enable hackers to take control of your devices remotely.


What are the 3 main types of phishing attacks?

Phishing emails pose several risks for individuals and businesses alike. While there are numerous phishing attacks that scammers engage in; the 3 most common types include the following.


Email phishing

Spear phishing



What is the most common email vulnerability?

Cybercriminals exploit email vulnerabilities to launch attacks on their users. The most common technique they use to defraud people is email phishing.


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