Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 30 May 2019 12:27

Email users hit by increase in phishing attacks: report Featured

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Cyber criminals continue to use email as a primary vehicle to steal data and deliver advanced threats, according to one security firm which reveals that phishing attacks targeting email users were the most prominent type of cyber attack globally in 2018.

According to the 2019 State of Email Security Report from email security provider Mimecast, 94% of respondents experienced phishing and spear phishing attacks in the previous 12 months, and 55% cited seeing an increase in phishing attacks over the same time period.

And Mimecast says social engineering attacks are a rising concern for organisations because they’re often one of the most difficult to control.

“Most notably, the report found that impersonation attacks increased almost 70% (67%) in comparison to the results in last year’s report – with 73% of those organisations impacted by impersonation attacks having experienced a direct loss, specifically loss of customers (28%), financial loss (29%) and data loss (40%),” Mimecast said.

“Not only are email-based attacks on the rise, but they’re affecting how confident people are in their organisation’s cybersecurity defences – and ultimately the ability to do their jobs.”

According to the report, 61% of email users believe it is likely or inevitable their organisation will suffer a negative business impact from an email-borne attack this year.

The report also found that business-disrupting ransomware attacks are up 26% in comparison to last year – and 49% of survey respondents noted having downtime for two to three days, whereas 31% experienced downtime for four to five days.

“Email security systems are the frontline defense for most of attacks. Yet, just having and providing data on these attacks is not what creates value for most respondents,” said Josh Douglas, vice-president of threat intelligence at Mimecast.

“Survey results indicate that vendors need to be able to provide actionable intelligence out of the mass of data they collect, and not just focus on indicators of compromise which would only address past problems.

“The Mimecast Threat Analysis Centre was also able to identify the top five industries being impacted by impersonation attacks which closely aligned with the findings in the report.”

Douglas said the survey found that financial, manufacturing, professional services, science/technology as well as transportation industries are top targets.

“Understanding these key pain points helps organisations build a more comprehensive cyber resilience plan,” he said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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