Despite the ubiquity of social media platforms, email remains a preferred means of business communication. Unfortunately, email use is not only limited to legitimate business transactions; threat actors also abuse it for malicious activities. And often, they do so using disposable email addresses.
That is where an email validation service, such as this one https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/api/, can help. An email validation service can check if the email address is valid or was created using a disposable or temporary service provider.
3 Types of Threat Actors That Use Disposable Email Addresses
Security teams should keep disposable email addresses away from their networks. But who exactly might be using disposable email addresses, and why should recipients be wary?
First on the list of disposable email service users are malicious actors that everyone fears. Several people may dread that hackers are all-knowing and can immediately get into any system they want to attack. But the truth is that they conduct reconnaissance before attacking. They look for vulnerabilities in corporate networks, usually by sending emails to employees using temporary or disposable email addresses and logging delivery receipts. When companies check if the email address is disposable before allowing a message to reach employees’ inboxes, though, hackers may find it harder to identify security loopholes.
Many phishing emails aim to inject malware into a recipient’s computer network. This malware can spread if the recipient clicks a malicious link or downloads an attachment. Either way, the recipient’s action may automatically install the malware.
Phishers do not need legitimate email addresses. In fact, using such could even be counterproductive. After all, they would not spend 5–10 minutes creating Gmail, Yahoo, or other legitimate email accounts for each address that can get blacklisted within hours or days.
On the other hand, generating a temporary email address takes only a couple of seconds. After that, they can send hundreds of phishing emails with each disposable email address. It gets worse as it takes only one employee to click a malicious link on a phishing email to compromise a whole corporate network.
Similarly, spammers have an incentive to use disposable email addresses in campaigns, as these are cost-effective and easy to obtain. Spam emails can also contain malicious links that inject malware into victims’ computers or run scams. Disposable email addresses are often untraceable, thereby giving scammers further anonymity.
How Can an Email Validation Service Help Keep Threat Actors Away?
Email address verification is a necessary process that cleans email marketing mailing lists. However, with the continuous use of email in various cybercrimes, it has also become a vital cybersecurity practice.
A good email validation service does not only check if the email address is valid but should also see to it that the sender did not use any of the thousands of disposable email address services.
The email address [email protected][.]be, for example, follows the correct syntax, passed the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) check, and has existing mail server records. By all appearances, it is a valid email address. However, an email address verification tool would tag it as a disposable email address.
As such, [email protected][.]be should not be allowed to enter corporate networks as a cybersecurity best practice.
Disposable email addresses can have good and legitimate uses. Several people use them to avoid receiving marketing emails and protect their privacy. But threat actors also exploit the anonymity that disposable email addresses can provide. For example, attackers can use these for hacker reconnaissance and sending spam and phishing emails. For effective cybersecurity, it is probably best to keep disposable email addresses off corporate networks.