Email security refers to methods for protecting email against unauthorized access and preventing the spread of malware, spam mail and phishing attacks that is distributed through mail messages. Hackers and other bad actors use email messages to disclose sensitive information, open attachments that install malware or click on hyperlinks that lead to dangerous websites. Email is often used to gain a foothold to a network’s data. Security techniques that can be applied to email include encrypting the content of email messages to protect potentially sensitive information.

Email was designed to be an open communication standard and attackers take advantage of the lack of security that is built into the email standard to carry out their exploits. Because email is critical for business, organizations have established polices to make email more secure. These security policies can include removing all executable content from email attachments and sending suspicious content to a secure area for detailed analysis and using email encryption to prevent sensitive email information being read by anyone other than the intended recipient.