What are phishing emails?
Phishing emails are fake messages, designed to look legitimate.
They cost businesses around the world billions of dollars each year. And they get opened by about 30% of people. These emails will generally impersonate a person or company that you trust or deal with, and attempt to trick you using one of three things:
They’ll use a fake person – someone pretending to be someone you know, so that you share information or transfer money into an attacker’s bank account.
They’ll set up a fake site – So that you enter your private information, like passwords or credit card details, or provide a rogue app with permission to access your data.
They’ll create fake attachments – attackers will disguise malware in fake invoices and shipping notification to remotely access your computer or encrypt your files.
How can I prevent phishing emails with Microsoft 365?
To give our teams the best chance of avoiding phishing emails, not only do we need to make people aware of the methods above, we need to configure the features in Microsoft 365 that address them. Starting with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
Start with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
This is your companies primary defence against phishing emails. While all Office 365 plans come with a built-in anti-phish policy, it’s not even close to what’s offered in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, also known as Office 365 ATP.
Once you’ve purchased Office 365 ATP, you should jump into the Security and Compliance centre and check out your anti-phishing policy.
Its default controls are pretty good for detecting phishing emails that impersonate your users, your domains and external contacts. It develops an understanding of how your users and their contacts interact, the addresses and sending infrastructure they use, and identifies anything out of the ordinary. If it detects an impersonation attempt, the message is either quarantined or delivered with a warning.
You can enhance your protection by adding users in roles like CEO or CFO to the targeted user protection feature. You can also add external domains, that you frequently interact with, to the targeted domains feature.
Use a mail transport rule to warn on external impersonation
You can configure a mail rule that applies a warning to messages where an external sender uses a display name that matches someone internally in your company. We have an example rule on our website that has been pretty popular amongst smaller organisations.
So that helps address fake senders, how about fake attachments and fake websites? Office 365 ATP addresses these with the Safe Attachments and Safe Links policies.
Detect malicious attachments with Safe Attachments policy
The safe attachments policy can protect your users from malware sent by phishing emails, like the COVID-19 phishing campaign that used Excel files to install a malicious remote access tool. The Safe Attachments feature analyses your attachments in a separate environment, running a bunch of checks for malware then blocking the email or removing the unsafe attachment.
Detect malicious websites with a Safe Links Policy
The Safe links policy scans your URLs in emails for links to malicious sites. If a malicious website is detected, Safe Links blocks users from visiting it.
Remove phishing emails from mailboxes after delivery
These tools work by analysing messages for known malware, bad links or untrusted senders and stopping them arriving. But what happens if a bad email gets through, and the system doesn’t realise until later?
You should configure Zero Hour Auto Purge. Zero Hour Auto purge removes bad messages from your mailboxes retroactively and sends them junk, quarantine or deleted items.
Set up Office 365 ATP and Exchange Online Protection with recommended best practices
I’ve just discussed four different security policies in a few minutes. If you’ve spent any time looking at ATP or Exchange Online Protection policies, you’ll probably notice there’s a lot of policies, and most of them are already set up. Should you change anything or leave them as they are?
It would help if you changed them, and Microsoft has two levels of recommended best practices that they say will prevent most unwanted messages from reaching your team.
These two levels are called Strict and Standard. In our experience, Strict is very strict, but it’s a good starting point that you can enable first, and adjust later.
Test users by simulating a phishing campaign
Once your policies are set up, you should test your users. If you purchase Office 365 ATP Plan 2, you can run attack simulations against your team. Attack Simulations can help you identify and find vulnerable users before a real attack impacts them.
Protect your accounts if your team gives up their credentials
But what happens when messages get through? What happens when users get duped and provide their login details to attackers?
Protect your accounts. If a user enters their credentials into a fake website, we need to make sure an attacker can’t use these credentials alone to log in. All Office and Microsoft 365 plans allow you to configure multi-factor authentication; this will ensure that attackers can’t log in without having access to an additional form of verification such as a phone or authentication token.
If you have a plan that includes Azure Identity Protection, you should set up a sign-in risk policy to monitor for unusual logins. These policies use machine learning to detect suspicious activity and can temporarily block sign-ins and accounts if something’s amiss.
Monitor for unusual applications with access to your users’ data.
Now that accounts are getting more secure by default, attackers are requesting access to user data via apps. And it’s worse if they manage to trick an admin user because then attackers can have longstanding access to an entire organisation that persists even when passwords are changed.
It can be challenging to detect if a user clicks a phishing link and provides a rogue app with access to their mailbox, OneDrive or SharePoint data. So you use Microsoft Cloud App Security to get alerted to unusual oAuth applications with access to your teams’ information.
Be extra vigilant if your data has been exposed in the past
Take extra care if you, or companies you regularly interact with, have been breached before. If attackers have had access to your company data and know who usually communicates with who, and for what purposes, they will try to exploit that information by setting up fake emails to hold their fake conversations with their fake invoices to get your real money.
Need help with phishing in Office 365 or Microsoft 365?
If you need assistance setting-up these policies in your organisation or need a hand cleaning up after a successful phishing attack in Microsoft 365, we’d be happy to help. Reach out to us via chat, or using the form below.
While most organisations take measures to prevent and protect against external cyber-attacks, many don’t protect themselves against accidental leaks by their internal staff.
Accidental disclosure is the unintentional release or sharing of sensitive information. In Australia, human error was the cause of 32% of reported data breaches in the last half of 2019.
Sending private information to the wrong person can put an organisation’s reputation on the line and have a dramatic effect on the disclosed party. Under Australia’s Privacy Laws, businesses need to have security measures in place to protect personal data from being leaked unintentionally.
How does an accidental data breach occur?
It’s often a staff member sending an email to the wrong person or inadvertently attaching a document that contains sensitive information. It could also be sending Personally Identifiable Information like Tax File Numbers, Credit Card numbers or Medical information over insecure channels.
What steps can I take to prevent accidental data leakage?
It may be obvious, but it starts with user education.
Document your best-practices and train users on what types of information they can share outside of the organisation.
But what can we configure to make sure we detect and catch any mistakes before they go out?
Microsoft has tools that can prevent sensitive information from being sent unintentionally. Here is a brief list of each tool and what they can do:
Communication Compliance is the latest addition to Microsoft’s insider-risk toolset. Communication Compliance helps you detect, capture and take remediation actions when your team sends inappropriate messages.
So what’s an inappropriate message? It can be something that goes against HR policies, like the sending of harassment, inappropriate or offensive language. It can also detect adult, racy or gory images. You can use pre-configured templates to identify sensitive information types or create a custom policy that can detect references to confidential internal projects.
Once a message is detected, communication compliance triggers an alert for investigation and remediation.
Data Loss Prevention
While communication compliance can monitor messages for inappropriate or sensitive information, data loss prevention policies can prevent them from being sent. Data-loss Prevention policies allow you to block, or impose conditions on the sharing of sensitive information.
With DLP, you can specify types of content that cannot leave your organisation. Sensitive info types include credit card information, tax file numbers, drivers license information and more. Microsoft 365 scans the content of your email, attachments and shared files and can either notify you or prevent it from being sent.
Office 365 message encryption
You can encrypt email and attachments to ensure that only the intended recipients can view their contents. You can also prevent recipients from forwarding, saving, copying or printing your email and attachments. Encryption can be applied by default to all messages, enabled manually by users, or automatically based on the type of information you’re sharing.
Your files can be labelled according to their sensitivity level, and policies can be applied relating to these levels. By appropriately labelling files and emails, you can ensure that your most sensitive information is only accessible by trusted recipients no matter where it ends up.
You don’t have to rely on a user labelling content based on an arbitrary choice. Automated file labelling scans the content of your file and applies a sensitivity label based on its content.
Use built-in external sharing alerts
Configure built-in alerts for external sharing. Alerts in Microsoft 365 can notify you each time a user shares information externally, or when an unusual volume of external sharing occurs.
Microsoft Cloud App Security
Cloud App Security can detect suspicious activities across Microsoft 365 and third-party cloud apps. For example, it can let you know if someone performs a mass delete or download of your information from SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox Business, Google Drive or Box.
Cloud App Security also provides detailed reports and insights into how your information is shared externally.
Share files via cloud storage
A better way to share data is via cloud storage rather than email attachments. Using cloud storage, you can create links to files, set access control and timed expiry – as well as revoke access. You can also view audit logs of file access to understand who is viewing your information. Sending files as attachments is a less secure way of sharing data – if you have to use it, you should ensure your encrypting messages with file attachments or using sensitive labels to protect them.
Need help protecting your sensitive data?
Naturally, there is significant consideration and configuration to apply these settings and privacy controls for your organisation. At GCITS, we have experience in cloud environments with complex security requirements. We have developed a typical security profile based on the Australian businesses that we most often service.
We can deploy these security solutions with minimal disruption. Your team can work with unimpeded access to clients, suppliers and teammates knowing that automated safety nets are in place.
Australia’s reported data breaches increased by 19% in the last quarter of 2019. In this short post, we break down what caused them and how you can protect your business.
Australian organisations are now subject to Notifiable Data Breach laws. These laws attempt to drive better security standards for protecting personal information, and they require organisations to disclose breaches to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
Companies who fail to disclose may be subject to hefty fines which also extend personally to company directors.
Want to protect sensitive information in Microsoft 365? Download our free Microsoft 365 Data Protection guide.
How were Australian companies breached?
The OAIC releases a quarterly report on reported data breaches. The latest contains records up to December 2019 with a total of 537 reported breaches which break down into the following categories:
- Malicious or criminal attack – 64%
- Human Error – 32%
- System Fault – 4%
To adequately protect your business against data breaches, you need to implement a system that addresses all three categories.
Protecting your organisation against malicious or criminal attacks
Let’s look at the methods hackers used to breach Australian businesses.
Of the ‘Malicious or criminal attack’ category, 74% of breaches involved compromised credentials. These are known as identity attacks because they use a compromised identity to gain unauthorised access. According to Microsoft, by implementing Multi-Factor Authentication across all users, an organisation can defend itself against 99.9% of identity-based attacks.
Ransomware and Malware made up another 16% of ‘Malicious or criminal attack’ breaches. These can be prevented by implementing a capable desktop and email threat protection engine such as:
- Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
- Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
Protecting your organisation against human error related breaches
Of the ‘Human Error’ category, 42% of breaches occurred using email. An example of this might be sending sensitive data to the wrong recipient. Companies can prevent this kind of breach by implementing a system which scans outbound email.
If the system determines that the email contains sensitive information, it can immediately block the mail delivery or alert a team member.
Protecting your organisation against System Fault breaches
Protecting your organization against system fault breaches relies on a combination of luck and due diligence. According to the OAIC, these types of breaches involve ‘disclosure of personal information on a website due to a bug in the web code, or a machine fault that results in a document containing personal information being sent to the wrong person.’
To defend against system faults, we recommend storing your sensitive data with reputable vendors only and choosing an IT partner who will regularly monitor and maintain your systems.
How can we help secure your environment against data breaches?
We use a combination of Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft Cloud App Security to implement enhanced cybersecurity for small businesses.
It’s not enough to simply buy the Microsoft licenses and apply them to your users.
To be effective in the modern threat landscape, these systems must be configured and monitored with policies applied and adhered to.
Want to learn more about protecting your data against breaches in Microsoft 365? Download our free guide on which features you should configure, or get in touch today.
Now more than ever, being able to work remotely is of critical importance. Ensuring that employees have the right tools to work from home or in isolation, is a real concern for business owners.
Why do we recommend Dropbox Business instead of OneDrive and SharePoint?
This is a question we’re asked occasionally and it’s something we’ve given a lot of consideration. Why do we deploy Dropbox Business for our customers? We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner, it’d make sense for us to go with OneDrive and SharePoint, right?
Ultimately it comes down to reliability and user experience. We can still roll out and secure Dropbox Business using Microsoft identities and security tools while providing a simple, reliable experience to our customers.
Here’s an overview of why we deploy Dropbox Business over OneDrive & SharePoint:
Download the full article here
Generally speaking, the Dropbox client just works.
This is extremely important to us. A Dropbox keynote speaker once commented: “Dropbox doesn’t just keep files in sync, it keeps teams in sync.” It’s marketing talk, but it makes sense.
When the tool that keeps your team in sync doesn’t work reliably, not only can you lose trust in it, but you can lose trust in your team. You’ll never know if the reason the files aren’t there is because the syncing isn’t working, or because your team members haven’t done their job. And when it does come back online, are all the changes and files there? Are there conflicts? How will we know without checking each affected device and team member? It may seem trivial, but in our experience, the emotional impact of an unreliable sync client is a very real thing.
Ease of Use
Dropbox eases the digital transformation curve for users who are familiar with working via Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Users can take advantage of the improved mobility, security and external collaboration features at their own pace.
The New Dropbox Desktop App is good
The new Dropbox Desktop App actually works quite well. It has a familiar file explorer/finder layout with additional enhancements that make it easier for employees to collaborate and comment on files and turn folders into productive workspaces called Dropbox Spaces.
Single Sign-on is simple to use
Single Sign-on allows users to use their Office 365 account to log into multiple services. If a user is signed into their computer with Office 365, they can sign into the Dropbox App or website without needing to re-enter their credentials. Granted, this is also the case for OneDrive and SharePoint, but we are often asked about how seamless Dropbox’s integration is.
Dropbox has an easy sharing interface, in the browser, on the desktop and using mobile apps.
- On the desktop, users can right-click on folders, click Share and send off an invitation to collaborate on the file or folder.
- In the browser, users can mouse over a file or folder, click Share and do the same.
- In mobile apps, users can tap the menu icon under each file or folder to share with anyone.
Office 365 and GSuite support
Dropbox supports both Microsoft’s Office Online and Google GSuite web apps to allow for the creation and editing of documents from anywhere. Users who work on files via the browser in Office 365 or GSuite will see little difference when switching to Dropbox Business.
Microsoft Cloud App Security
Microsoft Cloud App Security provides an additional level of alerting and data protection policy over Dropbox Business. This is especially handy for detecting malicious insider activity such as mass deletes and downloads. Using Cloud App Security we can guard against scenarios where employees accidentally or intentionally delete or download company data.
Built-in security policies
The built-in security policies are also quite good for Dropbox Business. Unlike the basic Office 365 plans, Dropbox actually notifies you if someone accesses your account from a new browser, or connects a new device to your account.
It’s also very simple to lock down sharing as required for certain files and folders. It’s easy to ensure that certain files and folders cannot be shared outside the company, or shared with anyone at all.
Want more information? For a comprehensive White Paper on why we choose Dropbox Business, fill out the form below.
We’ve been providing Dropbox Business as a core part of our Managed Services for a few years now, and have received great feedback from customers for its simplicity and reliability.
Our customers get a seamless solution with Dropbox Business and Microsoft 365, with single sign on through Azure Active Directory, advanced protection via Microsoft Cloud App Security and an excellent integration with Office Online.
We’re thrilled to announce that we have completed the customer satisfaction and training requirements to become the first Dropbox Business Elite Partner in Australia and New Zealand. And we’re pretty happy with the smash cake too.
This update will bring extra document management capabilities from SharePoint into Microsoft Teams.
The current Microsoft Teams files experience
The document storage and collaboration functionality in Microsoft Teams is built on SharePoint. Every Microsoft Team is also an Office 365 Group, and each team has a group-connected SharePoint site which stores all the files shared amongst the team.
You can already reach this site from the files tab of your Microsoft Teams channels, however the experience within Teams is a bit limited.
An updated Document Library experience in Microsoft Teams
This update brings the full functionality of a SharePoint Document Library into Microsoft Teams. With the ability to add and manage custom columns, sort and filter files with custom views, trigger workflows and much more.
Sync files from Microsoft Teams with your PC or Mac
This is the standout feature in this update. The ability to sync files with a PC or Mac will be available from within Microsoft teams. At Ignite this year, Microsoft demonstrated the new interface during the Content Collaboration in the Modern Workplace – BRK2451 session.
This screen capture demonstrates custom columns, views and formatting, as well as the new sync button within Microsoft Teams.
The roadmap update for this feature listed a general availability date of Q3 of calendar year 2018, so it should be rolling out any minute now.
For more info on this feature, see the Content Collaboration in the Modern Workplace session from Microsoft Ignite.
Office 365 Advanced Threat protection and Office 365 threat intelligence logs can now be integrated into your SIEM solution.
Threats discovered by these services can be made available on the audit.general workload of the Office 365 Management APIs.
What are the Office 365 Management APIs?
The Office 365 Management APIs are essentially the API version of the Office 365 Unified Audit Log
To get your Office 365 ATP info into your SIEM, you’ll need to have the Unified Audit Log enabled for your tenant. Unfortunately, it’s not enabled by default.
How to enable the Office 365 Unified Audit Log
The Office 365 Unified Audit Log is an important and useful tool which can help you secure your Microsoft Cloud environment. If you’re a Microsoft Partner, we have a longer article on enabling this for your customers’ tenants here, but to enable it for a single tenant, you have two options.
Enable the Office 365 Unified Audit Log via the Security and Compliance Center
- You can log into the Security and Compliance Center at protection.office.com as a global or security administrator.
- You’ll find the setting under Search and Investigation, Audit Log Search.
- If the audit log isn’t enabled, click Start recording user and admin activities
Enable the Office 365 Unified Audit Log via Powershell
- Connect to Exchange Online via Powershell
- Type: Set-AdminAuditLogConfig -UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled $true
Connect your SIEM to the Office 365 Management APIs
Once the audit log is enabled, threats discovered by Office 365 ATP and Threat Intelligence will be available on the audit.general endpoint of the Office 365 Management API. For more information on setting this up, see the official Microsoft documentation here.
You’ve been able to open shared calendars in Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android for a little while now, however this update makes it a lot easier.
How did Shared Calendars on Outlook for Mobile previously work?
- The person who owned the calendar would send you a sharing invite
- You accept the invite from within the Outlook mobile app
- The shared calendar is added to your phone.
With this update to Outlook for iOS, you can now open calendars that are already shared with you.
How to open a shared calendar in Outlook for iOS
- Switch to your calendars in Outlook for iOS
- Open the the left menu
- Tap the add calendar button
- Tap Add Shared Calendars
- Search for the person or group whose calendar you already have permission to access, then tap the add button next to their name
- The calendar will appear in your list
Can you open Shared Calendars on Outlook for Android too?
Yep, this feature is also available for Outlook for Android.
Some companies will block access to Outlook on the web entirely because they don’t want users to be able to download their company data externally. This new feature strikes a middle ground, so users can still access Outlook on the web, but admins can use conditional access to restrict downloads from Outlook on the web on personal or unmanaged devices.
What is Conditional Access?
Conditional access lets you define different security measures which take effect depending on how users are trying to access your company data. For example a risky sign in according to Azure Active Directory might prompt for MFA, while a sign in from inside your company network on a trusted device won’t. An unmanaged or non-compliant device might not be able to access certain apps, while compliant devices can.
How to set up Conditional Access for Outlook on the web
Add the policy via Azure Active Directory Conditional Access
In this example, we are setting up a conditional access policy for non-compliant devices which prevents users from being able to download attachments via the browser.
- Log in to portal.azure.com and open Azure Active Directory
- Click Conditional Access and create a new policy
- Under Users and groups, choose people or groups to apply the policy to.
- Click Cloud apps, choose Select apps, then search for and select Office 365 Exchange Online
- Under Session, select Use app enforced restrictions
Configure the OWAMailboxPolicy via Powershell
- Connect to Exchange Online via Powershell
- Run the following cmdlet to get the name(s) of your current OWA Mailbox Policies.
Get-OwaMailboxPolicy | ft Name
- Run the following cmdlet to set the Conditional Access policy option on your OWA Mailbox policy to ReadOnly.
Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -ConditionalAccessPolicy ReadOnly
Valid values for the -ConditionalAccessPolicy parameter are:
- Off: No conditional access policy is applied to Outlook on the web. This is the default value.
- ReadOnly: Users can’t download attachments to their local computer, and can’t enable Offline Mode on non-compliant computers. They can still view attachments in the browser.
- ReadOnlyPlusAttachmentsBlocked: All restrictions from ReadOnly apply, but users can’t view attachments in the browser.
Wait a few hours for the policy to apply. Once it takes effect, the previously selected users on non-compliant devices will not be able to download attachments via Outlook on the web.
What is the user experience?
The ReadOnly policy will ensure that users on non-compliant devices can’t download email attachments through Outlook on the web to their local device. They can only access them via the file viewers in the browser.
If you use the ReadOnlyPlusAttachmentsBlocked value, users will not be able to access attachments via the browser at all.
What license do I need for Conditional Access for Outlook on the web?
Conditional Access requires a subscription with Azure AD P1 or P2.