Criminals seize heightened email opportunity
The past year has seen a huge uptake in organizational reliance on email as the work-from-home era took hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the fifth annual state of email security report from Mimecast email usage soared in 8 out of 10 companies. The upside is that remote working is now a norm, but with it comes more threats as cybercriminals see the new ‘workscape’ as a land of opportunity.
The report, based on a survey of professionals across 10 countries including the UAE, makes for some chilling reading: Here are some of the startling facts it uncovers:
- During 2020, email threats rose by 64%.
- Since the onset of the pandemic, employees are clicking on 3 times more malicious emails.
- Phishing attacks have risen in 63% of companies since the pandemic.
- More than 6 out of 10 companies suffered a ransomware attack last year.
- 79% of companies were hit by a lack of preparedness.
- Only 1 out of 5 companies provide cyber awareness training.
- 40% of companies fall short in one or more critical areas of email security, leaving employees vulnerable to attacks.
- 9 out of 10 companies are threatened by online brand impersonation and misappropriation, putting their customers, finances, and reputations at risk.
- 70% of companies expect their business to be harmed by an email-borne attack.
- 13% of companies still do not have an email security system.
The Good news:
The report does point to some positives with the majority of businesses fighting back by enlisting specialized services and boosting cybersecurity teams and budgets to detect and defend against counterfeit emails and websites. Some 38% of companies are using AI and machine learning to bolster email defenses though only a minority have a cyber resilience strategy in place.
Email is still the most popular attack gateway for cybercriminals who are finding new ways to attack organizations at their email perimeters, from inside the organization, and beyond their perimeters. The Mimecast report points to 7 out of 10 respondents believing that employee behaviors such as poor password hygiene are putting their companies at risk.
Spoofing and brand impersonation have opened up a whole new front in the cyber wars. Nine out of 10 companies say they are threatened by online brand impersonation and misappropriation, putting their customers, finances, and reputations at risk with a whopping 91% of organizations surveyed said they are concerned that counterfeit websites will misappropriate their brand.
Sadly, more than two-thirds (70%) of survey respondents consider it likely (39%), extremely likely (26%), or even inevitable (5%) that an email-borne attack will damage their business sometime during 2021. This is up sharply from 2020 when only 59% suspected an attack.
The single learning outcome from the report is that cyber resilience pays off! A cyber resilience strategy that helps businesses to adapt and respond to new threats pays dividends. A strategy that embraces advanced technologies, such as AI and layered email defenses, while also implementing regular staff training in cyber awareness will be in the best possible position to ward off future attacks and quickly recover from any that occur.
If you would like a copy of the Mimecast 2021 ‘State of Email Security report or advice and guidance on drawing up a cyber resilience strategy, contact us now at +971-4-427- 2420 or email: email@example.com. You can rely on us for sound advice – we don’t just sell licenses, we provide solutions to protect and grow businesses, so lean on us!
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