Email: A Vulnerable Service

March 4, 2021

Cyber security firm Barracuda counted the number of email attacks that slipped through its clients’ enterprise-wide security measures last year. New Zealand’s SecurityBrief reveals the results in, “Millions of Email Attacks Missed by Organizations’ Cyber Security Protection.” Writer Shannon Williams reports:

“In 2020, 4550 organizations used Barracuda Email Threat Scanner to scan 2,600,531 unique mailboxes and found 2,029,413 unique attacks. On average, 512 attacks were found per organization, and one out of seven mailboxes (14%) had at least one attack currently sitting inside, even if messages were scanned by an email gateway solution, the cyber security firm says. The attacks detected fall into four email threat types: phishing, scamming, extortion, and business email compromise (BEC). Of the 2,029,413 unique attacks detected, phishing was the number one threat missed by the organizations email security solutions (59%). Scamming was the second most common (39%). Extortion, at 9%, and BEC, at 8%, were less prevalent, but cybercriminals tend to send these types of attacks in smaller volumes because they are highly personalized.”

Barracuda recommends companies adopt its inbox-based Email Threat Scanner to detect attacks that slip through any broader security measures. What a surprise! Of course, since the organizations studied were already Barracuda clients, it is entirely possible at least some of them were relying on that solution and skimping on gateway-side security. Even so, the report is a reminder to take email security seriously. One could choose a product like Barracuda’s, if desired. (Or Cyren’s, to name just one competitor.) At the least, workers should learn what to look for and actively avoid opening attack emails should they land in their inboxes. And turn off preview pane, for goodness’ sake.

Founded in 2003. The firm states over 200,000 customers around the world use its software, which some say is effective, affordable, and user-friendly.

Cynthia Murrell, March 4, 2021

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