How to use Email Threat Scanner—and why you should

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Barracuda provides free access to three different online scanners:

Of the three, Email Threat Scanner sees the most use, and that’s no surprise when you consider that the vast majority of data breaches, ransomware, and cyber-fraud are initiated by a malicious email attack.

If your organization has 100 or more Microsoft 365 inboxes, there is a 98 percent chance that they harbor malicious emails that slipped past your gateway defenses and are just waiting for a user to click or reply unwisely, potentially resulting in fraud, account takeover, ransomware, or a data breach.

How it works, what you get

Barracuda Email Threat Scanner uses the same AI engine that powers our advanced Impersonation Protection solution—along with API integration with Microsoft 365—to examine the emails in your mailboxes.

It detects malicious intent and multiple threat types, and delivers a comprehensive, detailed report that reveals gaps in your email security strategy. You get to see how many threats arrived in each of the previous twelve months, how they break down by type, which users or employees are most frequently targeted, how these threats have affected your domain’s DMARC status, and more. Use these results to evaluate your current solution’s performance, prioritize improvements, and target security-awareness training strategies for optimal effectiveness.

Step by step

To use Email Threat Scanner, the first step is to sign in with your Microsoft 365 admin credentials. Then you’ll be asked to accept the tool’s request for a long list of specific permissions. These permissions—including access to emails and user information, security and risk information, and permission to send email as any user—are required for Email Threat Scanner to complete its analysis of your threat status. And of course, you remain in full control and can revoke these permissions at any time.

The scan itself takes only a few minutes to set up and has no impact on email performance. While the scan is in progress, you get to watch the results compile in real time. And at the end, you are immediately taken to the Email Threat Scanner dashboard, giving you access to the full range of detailed results.

Proven secure

I’ve spoken to sysadmins who were hesitant to use Email Threat Scanner because of the access and permissions that it requires. This is understandable—after all, you’re all about keeping things secure, so when an online tool asks you to grant it significant permissions, it’s perfectly normal to balk.

If you’re among those feeling that hesitation, consider these statistics:

  • 12,000 organizations have run Email Threat Scanner already with no ill effects—you’re not taking early-adopter risks
  • 16,000 scans have been completed since 2018—many users have run the scan multiple times
  • Scans of 13 million mailboxes have uncovered 10 million undetected spear phishing attacks—preventing potentially large costs to many, many organizations

And here’s another way of thinking about it that might prove helpful. If you were to purchase Barracuda Email Protection—which frankly we hope you’ll at least consider once you see how powerful and useful the scanner is—you would not hesitate to give that solution access to your email system. That’s the whole point, after all. So think of Barracuda Email Threat Scanner as a highly limited, free version of our more full-featured, paid security solutions. Because that’s really what it is.

It's easy, it’s fast, it’s secure, and it delivers truly important and useful information about cyber threats that are otherwise invisible to you. And the sooner you use it, the sooner you can address and mitigate the very real risks that these evasive, hidden threats represent.

Start your scan now!


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