Anti-phishing software is defined as a software platform or a set of software services that identifies malicious inbound messages impersonating a trusted entity or attempting to obtain trust via social engineering, enables remedial actions, and empowers users to create blacklists and whitelists for message filtering. This article discusses what anti-phishing software is, what criteria to consider before investing, and the top anti-phishing software in 2021.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Anti-Phishing Software?
- Key Must-Have Features in Anti-Phishing Software
- Top 10 Anti-Phishing Software in 2021
What Is an Anti-Phishing Software?
Anti-phishing software is a software platform or a set of software services that identifies malicious inbound messages impersonating a trusted entity or attempting to obtain trust via social engineering, enables remedial actions, and empowers users to create blacklists and whitelists for message filtering. It is an essential part of email security, helping organizations stave off the entry of malware, virus, ransomware, or even zero payload attacks via email.
In recent years, phishing has emerged as a massive threat for both enterprise and consumer-grade users. A 2020 Verizon investigation noted that the use of malware and trojans has declined while attackers have started favoring more efficient tactics like phishing and credential thefts. It exploits user ignorance, misplaced trust, and natural human psychology to deceive users and obtain funds or monetizable data.
The Proofpoint report also found that just 49% of U.S. employees were able to correctly define phishing. Globally, nearly 4 in 10 employees didn’t know what phishing was. This is a worrying figure, given that over 80% of employees are likely to check or respond to personal email on their work devices. Companies not only need a stellar anti-phishing solution to safeguard communication on their corporate channels, but they must also invest in user awareness training to prevent risks arising from shadow IT/device usage outside of the corporate network.
Some of the risks you could be incurring without anti-phishing mechanisms in place are:
- Loss of data: Employees share confidential information with a malicious entity, mistaking them for a colleague or any other trusted party.
- Credential theft: Employees click on a malicious link or download a malicious file that logs keystrokes or obtains login credentials by spoofing the actual account provider.
- Ransomware infection: Employees click on a file attachment or download a malicious file from a URL mentioned in an email, only to find that their data is now encrypted until they pay a ransom.
- Wire transfer fraud: Employees believe the email sender legitimately and urgently requires a specific sum and wire-transfers the amount directly.
An anti-phishing software can detect emails with these or other malicious intent to take the appropriate action.
Also Read: What Is Phishing? Definition, Types, and Prevention Best Practices
Key Must-Have Features in Anti-Phishing Software
Anti-phishing software should offer the following must-have capabilities:
Essential Features of Anti-Phishing Software
- Spam filters to automatically block obviously suspicious emails, bulk campaigns, and unsolicited marketing materials
- Customizable filtering rules so that users and IT administrators can define their own policies for blocking emails
- Malicious file identification, including macros and ZIP files to prevent unintentional downloads
- Integration with multiple email clients such as G Suite and Office 365
- Options to report possible phishing attacks from with the email client without having to forward the email to other users on the network
- Malicious URL detection and auto-blocking of links
In addition to this, you could also look for integrations with your favorite collaboration apps and your SIEM solution to set up automated workflows. Some anti-phishing software also uses AI/ML to power auto-learning email analysis algorithms.
Also Read: Whaling vs. Spear Phishing: Key Differences and Similarities
Top 10 Anti-Phishing Software in 2021
Phishing protection should be a top priority for companies in 2021, given that the pandemic caused a 600% spikeOpens a new window in phishing attacks last year. A basic spam filtering tool isn’t enough, given that attackers now use sophisticated social engineering techniques to exploit human psychology and circumvent fixed-rules-based email filtering blocking mechanisms.
The ten software platforms listed below (in alphabetical order) are geared to protect your organization from email-related threats, catering to a variety of use cases. Here’s how these ten solutions stack up in terms of the six must-have features we mentioned earlier:
|Feature/Solution||Spam filters||Customizable filtering||Malicious file identification||Integration||Report attacks||Malicious URL detection|
|Area 1 Horizon Anti-Phishing Service||✓||X||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Avanan Cloud Email Security||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Mimecast Email Security with Threat Protection||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Phish Protection by DuoCircle||✓||X||✓||X||✓||✓|
|Proofpoint Email Security and Protection||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|SpamTitan Email Security||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Feature Comparison of Top 10 Anti-Phishing Software
1. Area 1 Horizon Anti-Phishing Service
Overview – Area 1 Horizon is a cloud-based service that offers protection from phishing on the web, email, and network-based vectors. The company has a singular platform that operates via APIs, also equipped with analytics and recommendations.
Best for:Single user entities to Fortune 50 enterprises with 100,000+ users.
Features: Some of Area 1 Horizon’s key features include:
- Email phishing protection via geo-distributed, scalable mail transfer agent (MTA) service
- Automated integration with Windows, BIND, and DNS servers
- Flexible device connectors for firewalls, web proxies, or DNS gateways
- Continuous learning and scoring across 100+ analytics models
- Proprietary algorithms for emergent campaign identification and attack correlation
- Mobile and roaming user protection
USP: A major USP that you can look forward to with Area 1 Horizon is results-based pricing. The company only charges for the threats and attacks that are detected by the software, letting you link your cybersecurity investments to ROI.
Pricing: Pay-per-phish model, with 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year contract periods; fixed pricing also available.
Editorial comments: Area1’s anti-phishing software gives you robust protection against all types of phishing attacks, including business email compromise (BEC), ransomware, malware, etc. it integrates with network edge devices on the one hand, and security operation center (SOC) on the other to enable holistic defense mechanisms.
2. Avanan Cloud Email Security
Overview: Avanan is an email security solution that protects against phishing attacks on any email client/instant messaging service, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc. It is useful for detecting social engineering campaigns that may be launched via collaboration channels, in addition to traditional email.
Best for: Companies with a sizable collaboration app footprint.
Features: Some of Avanan’s primary capabilities are:
- Cloud app integration for collaboration, email, messaging, and file-sharing tools
- Core analysis model trained on advanced threat patterns
- AI to spot correlations between employees, emailing habits, and communication
- A single threat management interface with universal policy control
- OAuth token-based, TLS-encrypted connectivity with SaaS apps
- A team of experts for a prompt incident response
USP: A unique capability of Avanan is not altering mail exchanger records or MX records when flagging or blocking phishing attacks. This makes it impossible for attackers to know if you are using an anti-phishing software service and thereby plot to circumvent the security measures.
Pricing: Avana’s Advanced Anti-Phishing solution is available at $4 per user per month for companies with under 500 employees.
Editorial comments: As organizations go beyond email for internal and external communication, anti-phishing software platforms like Avanan can be extremely useful for phishing protection on multiple communication channels.
Also Read: What Is Whaling Phishing? Definition, Identification and Prevention
Overview: Cofense is an anti-phishing specialist that offers a wide range of products to address phishing risks. This includes a learning management system for awareness training, a phishing detection and reporting service, employee resilience, and phishing threat intelligence.
Best for: Organizations with a large workforce requiring regular awareness training in addition to anti-phishing software.
Features: Using Cofense, you can gain from the following features:
- Over 25 million global threat reporters for a dynamically updated threat database
- Integrations with endpoint security, next-gen firewalls, SIEM, and SOAR systems
- Email quarantine service to auto-detect and isolate threats
- Phishing threat simulations to build workforce resilience
- Automated phishing email analysis and SPAM engine
- Employee interface to help rapport phishing attacks
USP: Cofense offers tailored solutions for different industries such as healthcare, financial services, energy & utilities, retail, manufacturing, and the public sector. Organizations without a mature in-house IT team can make use of Cofense’s tailored solutions.
Pricing: Cofense operates on a custom pricing model, so you’d have to contact a company representative for a quote.
Editorial comments: Unlike most anti-phishing solutions that are part of email security, cloud security, or collaboration security suite, Cofense is a pure-play anti-phishing provider. This is an excellent option for companies looking to clamp down on social engineering threats and boost employee resilience.
Overview: This cloud-native email security service protects you from phishing attacks on Office 365 channels and G Suite, including spear phishing, BEC, and emails carrying malware or ransomware. GreatHorn’s anti-phishing software is powered by AI and ML.
Best for: SMBs and large organizations that need flexible email security.
Features: You can leverage the following features using GreatHorn:
- On-by-default threat detection and automated quarantine
- Real-time incident search and remediation capabilities
- RESTful API for integrating with your existing security solutions
- Managed email security and custom policies configured by experts
- End-user awareness through banners, real-life warnings, policy violations, etc.
- Suspicious link previews and contextualized notifications
USP: GreatHorn uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to analyze a proprietary dataset built from hundreds of millions of analyzed threats. This equips it with robust and accurate threat intelligence.
Pricing: The GreatHorn platform is available in three editions – starter, basic, and enterprise.
Editorial comments: Applications of GreatHorn range from basic user alerts when an email appears suspicious to advanced threat intelligence detection and automated response. Small and mid-sized companies looking to scale fast could definitely gain this anti-phishing software.
Also Read: What Is a Spear Phishing Attack? Definition, Process, and Prevention Best Practices
Overview: IRONSCALES is a self-learning email security platform powered by AI. It can help you detect, remediate, predict and prevent phishing attacks, providing coverage against zero-day threats. You can use IRONSCALES for phishing protection in the Office 365 ecosystem as well.
Best for: Companies of every size with an established SOC and a strong security focus.
Features: IRONSCALES brings the following key capabilities to the table:
- Threat simulation for phishing attack analysis and user training
- Mailbox-level BEC protection and democratized threat hunting
- Protection from malware file attachments and suspicious URLs
- AI-powered incident response
- A virtual SOC analyst and assistant called Themis
- Crowd-sourced threat hunting from inside and outside of the organization
USP: a major USP of IRONSCLES is its proprietary AI and ML technology. It makes room for human insights and discretionary judgment, improving assessment capabilities with every potential threat and remediation action.
Pricing: IRONSCALES is available for $4.50 per mailbox per month for the Core edition, $6.50 for Core+, and $7.00 for Ultimate, assuming your company has 50-2000 employees
Editorial comments: IRONSCALES addresses the entire spectrum of phishing prevention activity, from threat assessment to advanced threat protection and SecOps. It flags CEO fraud, BEC, spear phishing, and brand impersonation – which are common attack types.
Also Read: Spear Phishing vs. Phishing: Key Differences and Similarities
6. Mimecast Email Security with Threat Protection
Overview: Mimecast is a leading cloud security vendor with a powerful email threat prevention offering. The company’s cloud-based anti-phishing software defends against inbound malware, SPAM, spear phishing, and zero-day attacks. The company’s products also include information protection, awareness training, and web security, among others.
Best for: Mid-sized to large companies, including system integrators/MSPs.
Features: Mimecast has the following core capabilities:
- Suspicious URL protection and alerts
- Email attachment analysis and sandboxing
- Mimecast Brand Exploit Protect to prevent domain spoofing
- Prevention of domain-spoofing and impersonation-based attacks
- Browser isolation to isolate the impact of URL clicking and browsing
- Mimecast secure messaging and large file send for secure communication
USP: Mimecast is an end-to-end answer to your information security challenges, going beyond anti-phishing to provide content controls, data leak prevention, browser isolation, and a secure platform for information/file exchange. It has a custom targeted threat dictionary managed by Mimecast experts to detect social engineering threats.
Pricing: Mimecast starts at$485 or less per month for up to 49 users.
Editorial comments: Solutions like Mimecast are essential in the modern digital era, where a lot of sensitive information is handled by organizations every day. It lets you create an end-to-end secure information ecosystem, from training your employees to protecting your online reputation and preventing email-related risk.
Also Read: What Is a Phishing Email Attack? Definition, Identification, and Prevention Best Practices
7. Phish Protection by DuoCircle
Overview: Duocircle is an email security provider known for its simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) service. It uses SMTP to provide inbound email security, protecting against phishing, ransomware, and malicious websites shared via email.
Best for: Small to mid-sized companies who need an effective anti-phishing service.
Features: Some of the key features of Phish Protection by DuoCircle are:
- Zero-hour malware and ransomware protection
- Spam filtering and domain name spoofing protection
- Real-time access Opens a new window to the suspicious email queue and click reports
- 30-day backup queue, powered by DuoCircle’s MX backup service
- Malicious attachment blocking
- Real-time link checking and validation against 6 URL reputation databases
USP: DuoCircle’s Phish Protection stands out in the anti-phishing software market owing to its sheer simplicity. It protects against all major email-related threats but does not promise any bells or whistles that are typically bundled into full-fledged security suites. The solution integrates with private hosted email, Office 365, G Suite, and Microsoft Exchange.
Pricing: DuoCircle follows a custom pricing model, so you would have to reach out for a quote.
Editorial comments: In addition to Phishing Protection by DuoCircle, the company also provides awareness training, phishing threat simulation, and advanced threat defense as part of its new PhishProtection brand. This is better suited to large enterprises.
8. Proofpoint Email Security and Protection
Overview: Proofpoint is a globally recognized cybersecurity solutions provider, and its email solution is extremely comprehensive. It protects against phishing and imposter emails and also lets you trace the origin of email messages.
Best for: Small to mid-sized businesses and enterprises with existing Proofpoint dependencies or those handling sensitive data.
Features: Some of the key features you can expect with Proofpoint email security are:
- Email classifier to classify emails into categories like impostor, phishing, malware, spam, bulk mail, adult content, and circle of trust
- Email warning tags to help users make informed decisions
- Proofpoint NexusAI to assess sender reputation
- Admin controls for managing encrypted messages/low-priority and take actions
- Multilayered detection techniques, including reputation and content analysis
- Graymail (e.g., newsletters and bulk mail) identification with granular email filtering
USP: The main advantage of Proofpoint email security is that you can extend it to leverage its other email security solutions such as Threat Response Auto-Pull (TRAP) and Email Fraud Defense. This lets you create an end-to-end secure communication landscape as per your requirements.
Pricing: Proofpoint follows a customer pricing model based on the features and services you need.
Editorial comments: Given its global reputation, Proofpoint is positioned to become a trusted provider for all your email security needs. Keep in mind that there are standalone, targeted solutions for anti-phishing and comprehensive offerings that include awareness training, information protection, and threat intelligence.
Also Read: What Is Threat Modeling? Definition, Process, Examples, and Best Practices
9. SpamTitan Email Security
Overview: As the name suggests, SpamTitan Email Security is a specialized anti-spam service that can be deployed as a gateway hardware appliance, a cloud service, on a private cloud, or integration with Office 365. No matter which solution you choose, it protects against malicious emails and suspicious messages through auto-learning and heuristics.
Best for: Office 365 users and MSPs, small-to-mid-sized businesses, and educational institutions.
Features: SpamTitan enables the following key features:
- Security against infected attachments by blocking of attachments by type or domain files
- Spam blocker with a 99.9% catch rate and a 0.003% false-positive rate
- Customizable policies and block lists per user, domain, domain group, and system
- Whitelisting, blacklisting, advanced reporting, and recipient verification
- Six real-time updated blacklists to analyze email
- Sandboxing and detailed quarantine reports
USP: SpamTitan’s USP is its crystal clear value proposition. For companies that want anti-phishing software and a solution to prevent unwanted/bulk incoming messages, SpamTitan offers an excellent answer.
Pricing: Pricing for SpamTitan starts at $1.15 per user per month.
Editorial comments: If you’re looking for an anti-phishing software that is competitively priced and gets the job done – while also protecting against malware, data leaks, and virus attacks – SpamTitan definitely deserves your attention
Overview: Like SpamTitan, Zerospam is also a spam protection and anti-phishing software, but this solution uses proprietary AI and ML to find threats. Zerospam is entirely cloud-based; it partners with several IT and cybersecurity specialists to augment its features.
Best for: Small to mid-sized enterprises looking to gain from AI security.
Features: Zerospam is powered by the following features:
- Pre-filtering before the email content or subject is exposed
- 10,000+ rules to analyze email content components
- Safe attachment assurance and malicious file auto-quarantine
- Spoofed emails blocked by default
- Emergency continuity service and spear-phishing/whaling prevention
- 5-day automatic queueing for inbound messages
USP: Zerospam has two major USPs – its client console, Cumulus, and ML engine, Tyr. Cumulus lets you view quarantined emails, update filters, assign access, etc., from a safe browser environment. Tyr helps to create effective SPAM filtering rules.
Pricing: Zerospam has a flat fee of $750 per year for every 25 seats at your organization.
Editorial comments: Zerospam is a relatively new player in the anti-phishing software landscape, but it has a slew of powerful features and an innovative ML engine. For large organizations, Zerospam also has an outbound protection service compatible with Microsoft 365, G Suite, and other email environments.
As you can see from our list of the top ten anti-phishing solutions in 2021, email security and phishing protection comes in all shapes and sizes. You could opt for a full-scale email security suite, a targeted phishing prevention tool, a SPAM prevention solution, or any combination of these features. Make sure to assess your use cases and user volumes before investing.
What features would you prioritize when assessing an anti-phishing software platform for your organization? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear your suggestions!