Why Email Remains the Most Common Channel for Cybersecurity Attacks

AnubisNetworks By AnubisNetworks • March 2, 2022

Email technology is so old it should have been deprecated. And yet, this old dog is still number one on both Businesses and Attackers hearts. 

Email mimics traditional Postal Mail: Same superior purpose (deliver messages and parcels (files) from anyone to everyone, on time, and with notice), enabling both parties to store the message. Yet they share the same flaws (is the sender real?, is the message dangerous?, has someone else seen the contents?, ...) So this makes email simultaneously unavoidable and flawed - the perfect combination for attackers!

The increasing sophistication of cybercrime reveals that attackers have increased activity across various threat vectors. However, email remains the number one target of cybercriminals. We know that the most prevalent cyber attacks are malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. Almost 50% of malware originates from email. Ransomware is most often deployed through malicious spam emails and phishing emails. And according to recent phishing statistics, 96% of phishing attacks are delivered by email.  

So many cybersecurity attacks start with email because cybercriminals recognize that most organizations remain unprepared due to inadequate security solutions. Many companies continue to use outdated email security technologies with low detection rates. With malicious emails easily evading protections of legacy email technologies, threats successfully make their way into user inboxes. And without proper cybersecurity training, employees may click malicious email attachments or links, consequently installing malware, stealing intellectual property, or sabotaging systems.

Closing the Gaps in Email Security

Not all email security systems are equipped with the right technology to detect sophisticated threats, leaving companies vulnerable. However, these are not the only problems organizations face when securing their email channels. Attackers are increasingly using packers, which are used to compress and encrypt code to prevent detection. Hackers can also evade standard antivirus programs by modifying the code that detects viruses.

Attackers have also developed sophisticated malware that evades detection in virtual environments. And when solutions lack the agility to learn and flexibility to pivot, the system fails to adjust to changing algorithms. When systems are agile, they can dynamically identify new patterns and deploy new logic to prevent further attacks.

Many organizations also fail to achieve high detection rates because they lack resources and an incident response infrastructure. Without an experienced incident response team, companies don’t have the ability to properly monitor, analyze, and report all email security incidents. And without experts, there’s no one to advise the company’s decision-makers about the strategies and tools that can be leveraged to optimize security systems and prepare them for advanced threats.

To close the gaps in email security, organizations need to thoroughly evaluate the email security solutions they’re considering implementing. The solutions should be agile and flexible enough to support constant updates and catch evolving threats. To achieve high detection rates and improve incident response, the company should enhance communications between its IT team, email security partner, and end-users.

Cybercrime may be evolving, but so is cybersecurity. With email as the top threat vector for malicious attacks, companies should focus on improving their email ecosystem. At AnubisNetworks, we know how critical it is for service providers and enterprises to strengthen their email security. We’ve designed our Email Security Platform for complex organizations that need a robust security system with a high level of operationalization. It is fully capable for Fraud, Malware, and Spam detection, with added features for user control, message deliverability, and traffic routing functionalities. 


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