messaging security

Messaging security is a subcategory of unified threat management (UTM) focused on securing and protecting an organization’s communication infrastructure. Communication channels can include email software, messaging apps and social network IM platforms. This extra layer of security can help secure devices and block a wider range of virus or malware attacks.

Messaging security helps to ensure the confidentiality and authenticity of an organization’s communication methods. Confidentiality refers to making sure only the intended recipients are able to read the messages and authenticity refers to making sure the identity of each sender or recipient is verified.

Oftentimes, attackers aim to gain access to an entire network or system by infiltrating the messaging infrastructure. Implementing proper messaging security can minimize the chance of data leaks and identity theft.

Characteristics of messaging security

While there are a variety of messaging security tools and software products available, their common characteristics are:

  • Protection against advanced spam, viruses, malware and phishing
  • Public or private key message encryption.
  • Message filtering that is content and language-independent.
  • Real-time IP address monitoring and email blocking.

Best practices for protecting messages

In order to ensure messaging performance and security, a few measures should be put into place. The first is an IP-reputation filter that checks email connection requests against a database of legitimate senders. If the sender is found to be associated with malware or spam, the program blocks the message and drops the connection. Additionally, administrators should set up an IP whitelist and Blacklist to ensure that trusted sources are always allowed access and known malicious sources are always denied.

Another measure that should be implemented is a combination of zero-hour and signature-based detection methods. Zero-hour detection collects a large number of messages as a reference so that any message that falls outside of the pattern is flagged. This type of detection can stop outbreaks in situations where the signature is not yet available. Signature-based detection blocks spam without opening the message contents. Instead, an algorithm is used to determine the message’s signature, or fingerprint-like information that verifies its authenticity.

This was last updated in July 2019

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