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Impersonation attacks rise 400 per cent in the last quarter

(Image credit: Image Credit: Megaflopp / Shutterstock)

The number of impersonation attacks rose by 400 per cent this quarter, new research has revealed.

According to a new report by Mimecast, attacks where malicious actors carefully  impersonate C-level executives, employees or business partners are on the rise. 

Mimecast says the technique, which tricks recipients into initiating wire transfers or sending other sensitive or highly monetisable data, is being exploited at an ‘alarming rate’, and can lead to ‘significant financial loss’. It cites the FBI, saying since October 2013 and December 2016, more than $5.3 billion were lost due to these types of scams.

Between January 2015 and December 2016, there was a 2,370 per cent increase in identified exposed losses.

“Cybercriminals are constantly adapting their attack methods. For instance, this latest ESRA analysis reflects how impersonation attacks are getting through existing email security defenses at an alarming rate. If a CISO isn’t reviewing its current email security solution on a 12-18 month basis, they may be surprised at what threats are now getting into employees’ inboxes,” said Ed Jennings, chief operating officer at Mimecast. 

“At the same time, email security providers need to ensure they’re doing their due diligence to protect customers from new attacks, whether they be advanced or simple. The Mimecast ESRA results show a clear need for the security industry to come together in the fight against email-borne threats.”

Mimecast’s report, Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA), analysed more than 40 million emails, almost 9 million spam messages, 8,318 dangerous files and 487 unknown malware attachments. 

You can find the full Mimecast report on this link (opens in new tab).

Image Credit: Megaflopp / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.