Story image

Impersonation attacks rise 400% as email security struggles to keep up

12 Jun 2017

20% of all risky emails are bypassing security in systems worldwide, despite efforts to deal with the problem, according to Mimecast's quarterly Email Security Risk Assessment.

The company says that both unknown and known attacks are on the rise. Those attacks are continuing to get through 'incumbent' email systems.

Impersonation attacks grew 400% quarter over quarter. These attacks involve social engineering emails that appear to be from a trusted C-level executive, employee or business partner.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams are a particularly worrying trend because they contain no malware -- instead they fool victims into sending money or sensitive data. In addition, there were 8605 impersonation attacks.

The report analysed 44,000 items of inbound email over 287 days. Over that period, there were 8.9 million spam items, 8318 dangerous file types, 1669 known malware attachments and 487 unknown malware attachments.

Most of those emails had already made it through organisations' email security systems.

“Cybercriminals are constantly adapting their attack methods. For instance, this latest ESRA analysis reflects how impersonation attacks are getting through existing email security defenses at an alarming rate. If a CISO isn’t reviewing its current email security solution on a 12-18 month basis, they may be surprised at what threats are now getting into employees’ inboxes,” comments Ed Jennings, chief operating officer at Mimecast.

According to US statistics from the FBI, BEC scams cost businesses more than US$5.3 billion in fewer than three years. Between January 2015 and December 2016, identified exposed losses shot up by 2370%.

“Email security providers need to ensure they’re doing their due diligence to protect customers from new attacks, whether they be advanced or simple. The Mimecast ESRA results show a clear need for the security industry to come together in the fight against email-borne threats," Jennings says.

IoT and DDoS attacks: A match made in heaven
A10 Network’s Adrian Taylor uses findings from a number of reports to illustrate his point that advances in technology are facilitating cybercrime.
ForgeRock launches Sandbox-as-a-Service to facilitate compliance
The cloud-based testing environment for APIs enables banks to accelerate compliance with Open Banking and PSD2 deadlines.
Cloud application attacks in Q1 up by 65% - Proofpoint
Proofpoint found that the education sector was the most targeted of both brute-force and sophisticated phishing attempts.
Singapore firm to launch borderless open data sharing platform
Singapore-based Ocean Protocol, a decentralised data exchange that promotes data sharing, has revealed details of what could be the kickstart to a global and borderless data economy.
Huawei picks up accolades for software-defined camera ecosystem
"The company's software defined capabilities enable it to future-proof its camera ecosystem and greatly lower the total cost of ownership (TCO), as its single camera system is applicable to a variety of application use cases."
Barracuda expands MSP security offerings with RMM acquisition
Managed Workplace delivers an RMM platform with security tools and services, such as site security assessments, Office 365 account management, and integrated third-party antivirus.
Flashpoint: APAC companies must factor geopolitics in cyber strategies
The diverse geopolitical and economic interests of the states in the region play a significant role in driving and shaping cyber threat activity against entities operating in APAC.
Expert offers password tips to aid a stress-free sleep
For many cybersecurity professionals, the worries of the day often crawl into night-time routines - LogMeIn says better password practices can help.