Earlier this year, security firm Mimecast conducted a survey on IT decision-makers which revealed that 54% of organisations in the UK reported an increase in email-based phishing attacks and that 92% of ransomware attacks globally were delivered by email.

The success of such attacks was largely due to the fact that less than one in ten organisations in the UK and beyond continuously trained employees on how to spot phishing attacks, and because many CEO’s undervalued the role of email security as a key element of their security programmes.

There was an 85% increase in the number of email fraud attacks per targeted company compared to the year-ago quarter and 23% of employees who were targeted by email fraud attacks worked in operations and production functions at organisations, making these two the most-targeted departments.

Research found that while lower-level management workers were at the receiving end of 60% of all email fraud attacks, executives and upper-level managers such as board members, C-level executives, directors, and department heads, received a disproportionately large share of attacks even though they formed a small proportion of the total workforce.

Departments and industries being targeted

While upper management staff received 23.5% of all fraudulent emails, in terms of departments, production / operations were the most targeted departments, followed closely by management, R&D / engineering, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and HR departments.

In terms of industry, cyber criminals launched the largest number of email fraud attacks on the real estate sector, with each organisation in the sector receiving 67 such emails on average. Other industries that were frequently targeted in Q2 were the biotech and medical industry, as well as consulting, engineering and manufacturing industries.

While education-related attacks jumped 250% compared to the year-ago quarter, the average number of email fraud attacks against automotive companies soared more than 400%, and attacks against government agencies also quadrupled in the period.

Source: SC Magazine