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Persona Creation

Personas are how Enveloperty organizes email. A persona is fundamentally a unique address created for a specific sender. This basic innovation is what allows for the control Enveloperty users experience. In standard email, users have a single email address. They are at the mercy of senders to respect them. In Enveloperty, users have unlimited addresses. This allows users to fundamentally sever the connect a sender has with them. Switching the balance of power from the sender, to the user.

Further information can be built upon this persona set up. Contextual information can be attached to a persona to further define and limit the users relationship with the sender. This is important because social engineering is all about getting a victim to disclose something outside those limits. The act of defining said limits personally, dramatically increases the resilience of the user. The Enveloperty user interface philosophy is all about displaying that information in a persistent visible manner. While the user is in a mindset thinking about how they could be phished, the attackers have quite the challenge ahead of them. In every interaction Enveloperty is designed to keep users in that mindset.

The first group of inputs in order is

  • ┬áselecting a persona for viewing
  • Detail Level of the persona. Increasing or reducing the amount of contextual info that is inputted and shown by persona
  • The name of the persona
  • The users dynamic address, with or without the domain
  • The folder incoming email for this persona will be sorted into
  • The subject filter is a word or phrase that the subject is searched for. If found the email will be pulled into the current persona, overriding an existing persona. For example "invoice" could be put in. So if a email is sent to that address with "invoice" in the subject line, it would be pulled by this persona
  • The sender filter is similar to the subject filter and overrides it. For example "no-reply-invoice@" could be entered to pull invoices out of a commonly spammy sender
  • The notify checkbox is if you want this persona to send desktop notifications for new email
  • The advanced checkbox is a way to force the additional options open

The second group of inputs controls what privileges a persona possesses using a tag system

  • New privileges can be created in the first dialog by clicking the create button
  • The dropdown on the left adds existing privileges
  • The dropdown on the right removes privileges from the persona
  • Active privileges are shown in the privileges group

The rationale group are inputs to log how confident the user is about the sender

  • The rationale input is for the reason why a persona is being created for this sender
  • The confidence input is a numerical expression of the trust the user has for the sender

The skeptic input is an area for the user to outline specifically what they need to be aware of for this sender.


Inline User Display

To the right is a snippet of the Enveloperty user control. The user control is always present while the add on is running. The most important aspect is the heads up display parts. The intentionally most obvious form is the colored square. The color corresponds to a security classification. Green means SPF & DKIM passed, yellow means SPF passed but not DKIM, red means SPF failed. To the left of the colored alert square displays the name of the persona, confidence and if the addresses is trusted.

The privileges group contains tags that define the permissions of the persona. In the example shown, billing, vice president and high importance are assigned to this persona. Based on these tags certain security policies and training can be in effect. For example, this persona is about a vice president. Therefore, for example, the secure email gateway can have strict policies in place. Most importantly is the billing tag. This means it is ok to discuss billing. Billing is one of the most used vectors for phishing. Asking someone to pay a bill or refund money is a commonly used tactic. If the persona wasn't tagged with billing and they tried asking something, the user would be alerted. It's not about what you can do, it's about what you should do.

Finally is the skepticism box. This displays the previously user entered information. But in the future can display information from the IT dept or threat intelligence feed. This box is crucially important, but as it requires certain effort to make work, it is far from default. The key to defeating social engineering is continuous awareness.In retrospect many phishing attacks seem obvious. If the user could have that hindsight awareness in the moment, who knows what a headache the attackers could get.


In Browser Color Coding

Keeping in the heads up display design principles, color coding marking whether a message has a persona or is trusted is displayed in the Outlook message scrollbar. Potentially allowing users to detect patterns & anomalies such as a folder or persona being filled with red.