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BizReport : Email Marketing : February 17, 2017

Email analysis reveals extent of email attacks on businesses

Two-thirds of organizations globally believe cybercrime will negatively impact their business this year, according to new research from Mimecast which reveals the extent of holes in email security.

by Helen Leggatt

Analysis of 26million business emails by Mimecast uncovered 3.5million items of spam and 6,681 dangerous files. Overall, more than 13% of emails that should have been stopped by an email security system continued on to an inbox and, while less 1% of those emails contained malicious content (99.7% categorized as spam), it only takes one email attack to be successful to be a threat.

Of the 6,681 emails found to contain dangerous file types that could carry malware, malware was detected in just 1,628 of those files. Furthermore, 421 of those detected emails contained new forms of malware that a computer's detection software would have been unlikely to detect until an update to that software was released.

Mimecast's analysis also detected 1,697 impersonation emails. These are phishing attempts that mimic real people and pretend to be sent from a legitimate source in order to access company sensitive data. Most often they attempt to impersonate a trusted party, such as a C-level executive, employee or business partner, with the goal of prompting the recipient to do something they shouldn't such as sending wire-transfers, W-2s, or other sensitive and valuable data to the fraudster under the guise of some business process.

"It's easy to assume that your email security solution is protecting you from advanced attacks. If you don't have visibility into what's actually getting delivered to the inboxes of employees, why would you think otherwise?" said Ed Jennings, chief operating officer at Mimecast.

"As we've shared the findings with CISOs globally, they've been taken aback by the volume and type of attacks getting through their current email security solutions. The visibility this assessment offers is actionable, and is being used to reprioritize their current email security strategies. By launching the Mimecast ESRA, we are helping to establish the new standard of transparency for organizations while at the same time helping to raise the bar for the industry."

Tags: email, malware, phishing, security

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