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Rise in BEC attacks highlights need for heightened email security

(Image credit: Image Credit: Evannovostro / Shutterstock)

Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks have increased by 80 per cent according to Mimecast's latests quarterly Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA) report.

The firm's ESRA helps organisations by providing greater insight to the number and type of email-borne threats that are getting past their defences.

In its inspection of over 142m emails that passed through organisations' email security vendors, Mimecast found 203,000 malicious links within more than 10m emails that were deemed safe by other security vendors making for a ratio of one unstopped malicious link for every 50 emails inspected.

The report also found an 80 per cent increase in impersonation attacks when compared to last quarters' report with 41,605 caught. Mimecast also found that over 19m spam emails, 13,176 emails containing dangerous file types and 15,656 malware attachments were all missed by security vendors.

Cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast, Matthew Gardiner offered further details on the findings of the report in a statement (opens in new tab), saying:

“Targeted malware, heavily socially-engineered impersonation attacks, and phishing threats are still reaching employee inboxes. This leaves organizations at risk of a data breach and financial loss. Our latest quarterly analysis saw a continued attacker focus on impersonation attacks quarter-on-quarter. These are difficult attacks to identify without specialized security capabilities, and this testing shows that commonly used systems aren’t doing a good job catching them.” 

To prevent falling victim to a BEC attack, Mimecast recommends that organisations enhance their cyber resilience strategies for email with a multi-layered approach that includes a third-party service provider. 

Image Credit: Evannovostro / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.