Phishing attempts rise sharply in past three months: Mimecast

Number of emails delivered with malicious URLs increase by 126%, latest Email Security Risk Assessment report reveals

Gardiner: Email and the web are natural complements when it comes to the infiltration of an organisation.
Gardiner: Email and the web are natural complements when it comes to the infiltration of an organisation.

The number of phishing emails delivered with malicious URLs has increased by more than 125% over the last three months compared to the three months prior.

This is one of the findings from the Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA) report by Mimecast, the email and data security company.

Mimecast detected 463,546 malicious URLs contained in the 28,407,664 emails delivered were deemed “safe” by an organisation’s existing email security system, averaging to one malicious URL in every 61 emails.

Recent research Mimecast conducted with Vanson Bourne independently also confirms that malicious URLs are a rampant problem, with 45% of the 1,025 respondents saying the volume of these URL-based attacks or those with dangerous attachments have increased over the last year. Despite the fact that the majority of cyberattacks start with an email, the lines between email and web security are blurring.

In addition to malicious URLs, the latest ESRA report also found 24,908,891 spam emails, 26,713 malware attachments, 53,753 impersonation attacks, and 23,872 dangerous file types of the 232,010,981 total emails inspected were all missed by these incumbent security solution providers and delivered to inboxes, putting individuals and organisations at risk.

“Email and the web are natural complements when it comes to the infiltration of an organisation. Email delivers believable content and easily clickable URLs, which then can lead unintended victims to malicious web sites. URLs within emails are literally the point of intersection between email and the web. Organisations need the visibility across both channels in order to have the protection required to stay on top of today’s ever evolving and expanding threats and having a single vendor in an integrated solution can help,” said Matthew Gardiner, cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast.

“Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to evade detection, often turning to easier methods like social engineering to gain intel on a person or pulling images from the internet to help ‘legitimise’ their impersonation attempts to gain credentials or information from unsuspecting users,” Gardiner added.

Impersonation fraud also continues to grow and present challenges. The new research from Mimecast and Vanson Bourne revealed that 41% of respondents reported seeing an increase in impersonation fraud from vendors or business partners asking for money, sensitive information or credentials – with 38% saying they’ve seen an increase of impersonation fraud from well-known internet brands.

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