In the late 1970’s, we were excited to develop a crude but clunky email system that pulled down a single file from a mainframe computer every day. A couple of keystrokes would fling the one-pager out to five floors of managers in moments. We had the taste for information at the speed of light for the very first time and we were hooked.
We knew that this technology carried the promise of great change to how we communicate and what might constitute mail. We did not think it carried the risk of crime or as a tool that we love to hate. Who knew?
Email has become a critical tool for speeding up and maintaining communication flow—a task that is critical to most businesses. The technology has dramatically matured into creative messaging, tracking, and calendaring applications that can be used not only on your computer, but even ‘Dick Tracy’-like watches.
They do exist! Officially licensed by Tribune Content Agency (which owns the rights to the comic), the Dick Tracy watch was created by Connecticut-based brothers Nick and Charlie Mathis. You may want one too!
Somewhere along the line, scammers recognized an opportunity to leverage the technology to separate us from our money (I am not referring to sales but then again...). They have gotten really good at it.
The strategies they use often incorporates the art of deception. This deception takes the form of fake everything (like requests, calls for help, gift cards, job notices, and outright demands).
Attacks are “more advanced, more frequent,” said Colby Hall, Business Development Representative, from Mimecast in a recent phone interview with SCDC.
Business Email Compromise scams (or BECs) are a type of ‘phishing’ attack in which criminals target businesses that frequently send international wire transfers. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails that persuade people to reveal personal information. The deception is usually hidden very well and may look totally reputable. 
Awareness is the biggest thing.
“Awareness is the biggest thing.” Mr. Hall continued. ‘You would think that people have seen this kind of thing so many times before, but they go ahead and click on the email and assume it is OK.’
He indicated that attachments, more so than the email message itself, are the typical vehicle for introducing software (or malware) that provides access or attacks other computers. The email or attachment can also send the reader to a link that may not look quite right where an invader jumps on your link potentially exposing all of your company and customer secrets.
According to the recent CyberArk Global Advanced Threat Landscape 2019 Report 60 percent of respondents cited external attacks, such as phishing, as one of their organization’s greatest security risk, followed by ransomware (59 percent) and Shadow IT (45 percent). The scary part? Only half of those organizations surveyed had a security plan in place. 
...human error causes 90 percent...
In a recent Capital One incident, approximately 100 million U.S. customers and 6 million Canadian customers were hacked, and personal information exposed. These incidents happen more often than we want to know. The FBI estimated that there were 22,000 incidents involving American businesses from October 2013 -December 2016. In total those businesses saw losses of nearly $1.6 billion. The really bad news? Those numbers jumped 2370 percent between January 2015 and December 2016.  More recently there was a 65 percent increase in phishing in 2016 alone creating 1,220,523 attacks. 
The really, really bad news? There is no way to protect yourself and your company from an attack 100 percent of the time. Sure, there are software solutions that can help but human error causes 90 percent of cyber breaches . Education and awareness will help. Better practices related to protecting your data offline could help... or rethinking what devices you store your personal information on...
Thank you! Colby Hall, Business Development Representative, from Mimecast for your time and information. Find out more about Mimecast at www.mimecast.com.
1 The Dangers Of Phishing (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/09/14/the-dangers-of-phishing/#516363f15078)
2 Must-Know Phishing Statistics 2018 (https://blog.alertlogic.com/must-know-phishing-statistics-2018/)
3 Phishing Scams Cost American Businesses Half A Billion Dollars A Year (https://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2017/05/05/phishing-scams-cost-american-businesses-half-a-billion-dollars-a-year/#6176fd263fa1)
4 Survey: Only Half of Organizations Believe They Can Stop Cyber Attacks (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190723005131/en/)
5 Mimecast Email Security Brief, 2018.
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