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What is geofencing and when is it effective?

What is geofencing and when is it effective?

Geofencing is a new feature we added to the Paubox Inbound Security product in 2022. Today, here's what Geofencing is, how it works, and how it adds another capability to stop email threats and spam.

A general definition of geofencing is setting a virtual geographic boundary, or fence, around something that you want protected. You may have also heard of geoblocking, which is more of a networking or firewall term. In this case, we are not blocking or dropping the traffic but quarantining it.


Geofencing in Paubox


Geofencing in the context of email and Paubox means quarantining emails based on a country that the email passed through, determined by the IP address of the email server or client. You can select which countries to quarantine in the Paubox dashboard, currently a list of 45.

Customers that included all countries fenced anywhere from 300 to 4000 emails per month. On average, those customers quarantined 28 emails a day!


Why geofencing is effective


Blocking by IP address is effective for several reasons:

  • It doesn't matter what language the email is in
  • It doesn't matter what the content is. It could be spam, nuisance, or a malicious phishing attack
  • Blocking by domain extension is not enough. Most smart spammers will use a .com or .net.
  • Reduces reliance on spam/virus engines and blacklists that need regular updates


So think of geofencing as a sledgehammer approach to geographic threats. If you aren't expecting that email from overseas, it gets filtered out before getting near your inboxes.


Who should geofence their inbox


These types of Paubox customers will benefit significantly from geofencing:

  • Solely U.S.-based healthcare providers.
  • Local clinics.
  • Hospitals that do not have patients or partners outside of the US.


Many local healthcare providers have enabled all countries and seen excellent results.


Who needs to be more selective with blocking by country? 


Healthcare tech companies, organizations with offshore support or developers, medical device manufacturers, and companies with overseas vendors and partners should proceed more selectively by geofencing specific countries. A good place to start is geofencing the top phishing countries listed below.


Top countries to geofence


Based on our 2022 research, these are the top countries to block for spam:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Germany
  • India
  • Netherlands
  • Brazil
  • Mexico


Based on our 2022 research, these are the top countries to block for phishing:

  • Lithuania
  • Serbia
  • Ukraine
  • Colombia
  • Iran
  • Russia


It should be acknowledged that the US and Canada are occasionally included in the Top 10 spamming countries. Those unwanted emails will need to be managed in other ways for obvious reasons. 

This solution is not foolproof and there are ways around it. However, using a layered approach, geofencing is yet another tool to combat unwanted or malicious emails.

Geofencing reduces unwanted emails for many customers, especially those who require HIPAA compliant email.


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