A few weeks ago, 50 years have passed since Ray Tomlinson sent the first email ever. That was 1971. You'd expect that by now something else could have replaced it, not because it's not the greatest form of remote communication (it mimics the postal mail), but because the growing threat of cybercrime attached to email.
Email is still king. With around 320 000 000 000 emails sent every day across 5000 Million mailboxes, companies still rely on Email as their number one form of reliable communication. You can "talk" using virtual calls (such as Zoom) and IM tools (such as Slack), but you cannot send a proper messages. Complete, trackable, and meant for all types of recipients.
Email has replaced postal mail and postal parcels and, coincidently, it brings the same importance, as well as most of the problems (is the sender real? Was the content tampered? Is there anything harmful inside the parcel). And this is the reason why it's the number one attack vector for Social cyberattacks (through phishing and compromised emails), the main cause of computer security breaches, together with human errors and credential theft.
50 years later, here are the problems Emails are facing:
NetSTAR shows that the number of phishing attacks increased during COVID-19. In some areas, this number has more than doubled, and it grew over 600% in others.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, hackers changed their tactics to target those who are working from home, so one of the most impersonated brands now in email attacks is Zoom.
Verizon shows that 60% of phishing attempts are targeted at people’s credentials, while 50% are also looking for additional personal information. Some other kinds of information that can be obtained in a phishing attack are: Medical records, Bank statements, Secrets, Classified information, Payment records, and IT system data.
Since scammers are particularly focused on money, invoice and payment fraud has increased by 112% in the first half of this year. The most likely targets of these phishing emails are finance employees, compared to 87% of individuals working in other industries.
In the second quarter of 2020, the number of malicious attachments increased by about 6.5 million since last year. It’s important to know that malicious attachments don’t only come in the form of .exe files. According to Symantec, the most common type of malicious attachments are .dot and .doc files (37%), followed by .exe at 19.5%.
SMBs Are Also Under Threat
Studies have recently shown that SMBs are more often becoming a target of cyberattacks. For some companies, one attack is enough to shut down completely since, according to the US National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of SMBs fail in a few months following a cyberattack. This statistic urges SMBs to consider prioritizing cybersecurity.
Email is paramount to corporate productivity. But it can also be its downfall.