Security firm Proofpoint commissioned research company Censuswide to run the survey in the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia. Five hundred people took part in the survey in all the countries, apart from Australia where 250 were involved. Additional data was collated from the company's threat research.
The survey found that 80% of Australian organisations (75% for all five countries) experienced at least one targeted email fraud attack, with 33% suffering multiple attempts in the last two years. On the plus side, it found that more than half (54%) of Australian businesses had implemented a user-awareness programme on phishing while and 48% use email authentication.
While the same percentage (80) of Australian businesses - the overall figure was 77% - expected to fall victim to email fraud in the next 12 months, only 43% had full visibility into email threats. Sixty-two percent of Australian businesses had no financial controls in place to protect against wire transfer fraud. Forty-nine percent of Australian businesses said they were implementing a solution to prevent email fraud.
More than one in three attacks on Australian businesses (35%) led to loss of funds. Other consequences included business disruption (55%) and loss of sensitive data (43%). Email fraud also put employees directly at risk with nearly one in four attacks (24%) resulting in loss of employment.
“Email fraud is highly pervasive and deceptively simple; hackers don’t need to include attachments or URLs, emails are distributed in fewer volumes, and typically impersonate people in authority for maximum impact,” said Robert Holmes, vice-president of Email Security Products for Proofpoint.
“These and other factors make email fraud, also known as business email compromise, extremely difficult to detect and stop with traditional security tools. Our research underscores that organisations and boardrooms have a duty to equip the entire workforce with the necessary solutions and training to protect everyone against this growing threat."
The complete Proofpoint survey can be downloaded here.
Graphic: courtesy Proofpoint