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Email Attacks: IT Professionals Struggle in Spotting Suspicious Emails

Spear phishing is widespread with 43 per cent of organizations being the victim of a spear-phishing attack in the past 12 months

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Cyber crime, U.S. programming
A man types on a computer keyboard in front of displayed cyber code in this illustration picture. VOA

Email attacks like phishing and ransomware are having a major impact on businesses globally, with over three-quarters of organizations saying their employees aren’t good at spotting suspicious emails, a new report has stressed.

Nearly 74 per cent of respondents say email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses while 78 per cent of organizations said the cost of email breaches is increasing, according to the report titled “2019 Email Security Trends” by the US-based cyber security firm Barracuda Networks. Spear phishing is widespread with 43 per cent of organizations being the victim of a spear-phishing attack in the past 12 months.

“While most IT professionals are more confident about their email security systems than they were a year ago, email attacks continue to have a significant impact on businesses,” said the report. The most common effects cited were loss of employee productivity, downtime and business disruption, and damage to the reputation of the IT team.

email attacks
Nearly 74 per cent of respondents say email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses. Pixabay

“Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported experiencing higher stress levels, worrying about potential email security even when they’re not at work, and being forced to work nights and weekends to address email security issues,” the findings showed.

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“Nearly a quarter of respondents advised that attacks have cost their organization $100,000 or more. Ninety-two per cent of Office 365 users have security concerns,” said the report. The report included responses from 660 executives, individual contributors and team managers serving in IT-security roles.

Companies surveyed include small, mid-sized, and enterprise businesses in technology, financial services, education, healthcare, manufacturing, government, telecommunication, retail and other industries. (IANS)

Next Story

Phishing Attacks Remain Top Threat to Financial Services Organisations and Customers

The goal of phishing is to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it

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Phishing, Attacks, Threat
The study by cloud delivery network provider Akamai Technologies found that 50 per cent of all unique organisations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector. Pixabay

Criminals seem to be recycling old attack methods as a new report has found that phishing attacks remain the top threat to financial services organisations and customers.

The study by cloud delivery network provider Akamai Technologies found that 50 per cent of all unique organisations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector.

The goal of phishing is to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it.

The “sender” of the email deceives the victim by making the email appear to be sent from a reputable source, such as a government department, a supplier, or a customer of the business.

Phishing, Attacks, Threat
Criminals seem to be recycling old attack methods as a new report has found that phishing attacks remain the top threat to financial services organisations and customers. Pixabay

The phishing email may have a malicious attachment, like a PDF or Word document, that, once opened, will harm the user’s computer by installing malware.

Or, the phishing email will contain a malicious URL link in its body. When the user clicks on that link, they might be directed to a site that appears legitimate, but in actuality it is used to collect confidential information such as usernames and passwords, or to install malware onto their device, according to Akamai.

The report indicates that between December 2, 2018 and May 4, 2019, nearly 200,000 phishing domains were discovered, and of those domains, 66 per cent targeted consumers directly.

In addition to unique phishing attempts, adversaries also leveraged credential stuffing attacks to the tune of 3.5 billion attempts during an 18-month period (November 2017 to
April 2019), putting the personal data and banking information of financial services customers at risk, said the “State of the Internet/Security Financial Services Attack Economy” report.

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In credential stuffing, bad actors use real credentials stolen from a third-party resource. They take advantage of a common habit of people using the same credentials for different online accounts.

“We’ve seen a steady rise in credential stuffing attacks over the past year, fed in part by a growth in phishing attacks against consumers,” said Martin McKeay, Security Researcher at Akamai.

“Criminals supplement existing stolen credential data through phishing, and then one way they make money is by hijacking accounts or reselling the lists they create. We’re seeing a whole economy developing to target financial services organisations and their consumers,” McKeay added. (IANS)