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With the data breaches of 2013 bringing cybercrime into the spotlight, one thing has become astoundingly clear – cybercriminals are waging a war and are pulling into the lead. Email plays a key role in this war because email is the single easiest way for criminals to target an individual. Recent breaches have seen criminals sell off that personal information, such as email addresses, home addresses, mobile numbers, credentials, and then use that information to launch a multitude of attacks — phishing attacks, identity theft, or creating bank accounts in someone else’s name.

Be sure to download the full Q4 2013 TrustIndex to get the complete details!

This Q4 report shows which industry sectors and companies are most at risk, and which are most diligent in securing email, consumer information and brand reputation through their email security practices, including implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Almost any retailer could become the next “target” – the retail sector’s ThreatScore jumped eightfold from Q3 to Q4.
  • Shopping from your laptop during work is safer than leaving your desk – Etailers provide superior consumer protection compared to bricks-and-mortar Retailers.
  • Cross your fingers before you clickety-click on an email from your healthcare provider – the Health Care sector is the worst performer in the study across all measures.

Financial Services is one of the industry sectors we analyze every quarter, but for Q4 we took it a step further and divided the segment into Payments, which includes Credit Card companies, Mega Banks and Large Banks to see which trends, if any, would emerge. Download the TrustIndex to read more about the interesting trends we uncovered.

And let’s not forget Retail. Following the very public data breaches throughout 2013, we decided to zoom in on E-Commerce and divide the category into Retailers, who have a foot in the door of digital and an enormous focus on physical retail, and Etailers, who wholly depend on digital as their engagement and commerce channel, to see if interesting patterns would emerge.

In 2014, the critical measure will be who takes action to secure email and protect consumers from the identity theft that commonly follows data breaches. We’ll be monitoring those companies closely – and reporting the findings.