Email Security Blog

Spear Phishing – The Scale of The Problem

Agari February 26, 2016 Email Security
Fallback Featured Image

The rise of highly targeted email attacks – known as spear phishing or business email compromise – is one of the most worrying developments in cyber attacks over the last year.

The well researched threat
Sophisticated threat actors are increasingly investing time in getting to know their victims – their names, email addresses and even the business processes within their organizations.

In fact, Trend Micro research revealed that nearly half of the total number of spear phishing recipient email addresses can be found through Google search.

With such information readily available online, savvy cyber criminals are equipped with the resources to create carefully engineered emails that successfully trick users into handing over confidential information or making fraudulent payments.

A growing problem
According to a recent FBI investigation, this type of crime is on the rise and 7000 companies have had their business email compromised by successful spear phishing attacks within the last three years.

Top targets by sector
Investigations by Trend Micro have shown that the government sector and activist groups are the most targeted sectors of advanced persistent threats (APT) related spear phishing attacks.

Avenues of attack
The dominance of email within businesses means that it continues to be the main attack vector for distributing spear-phishing attacks. According to Trend Micro, 91% of targeted attacks involve spear phishing emails.

The cost and impact
While estimates about the cost of spear phishing attacks vary, experts agree that it’s now in the billions.

The FBI claims that the loss from business email compromise has now reached over $2 billion within the last two years. In total, there have been 12,000 victims globally that have experienced an average loss of $120,000 each.

Given the scale of the problem, it’s no surprise that organizations rank preventing targeted email attacks, data breaches and financial loss as their biggest priorities for 2016.

More must be done to restore trust to the email ecosystem and prevent fraudulent emails from even making it into the inbox.

To find out more, listen to our webinar on Email Security Protection: Predictions and Pivots for 2016.

Leave a Reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.

Agari Blog Image

April 11, 2019 Raymond Lim

Beware of Phishing Attacks as Tax Day Looms Closer

The April 15th deadline to file taxes in the United States is almost here, which…

Agari Blog Image

March 13, 2019 Ernest Yuen

W-2 Scams Likely to Continue as Driver for Phishing Attacks in 2019

With the 2019 tax season reaching full throttle, a volatile mix of conditions could fuel…

Agari Blog Image

March 6, 2019 Mandeep Khera

Winning with Channel Partners: How Agari Continues to See Success

Channel partners have become a strategic extension for technology businesses all over the world.  Within…

Advanced Threat Capture Rate

February 7, 2019 Paul Chavez

Why You Should Care About an Advanced Threat Catch Rate

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and deep learning analysis have become common buzzwords synonymous with…

Brand Design is New Demand Generation

February 4, 2019 Armen Najarian

Brand Marketing is the New Demand Generation

First, An Apology Sorry, demand generation professionals.  We still love you and your jobs aren’t…

mobile image