Impersonation attacks rising sharply

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The number of impersonation attacks rose by 400 percent this quarter, new research has revealed.

According to a new report by Mimecast, attacks where malicious actors carefully impersonate C-level executives, employees or business partners are on the rise.

Mimecast says the technique, which tricks recipients into initiating wire transfers or sending other sensitive or highly monetisable data, is being exploited at an "alarming rate" and can lead to "significant financial loss." It cites the FBI, saying since October 2013 and December 2016, more than $5.3 billion were lost due to these types of scams.

Between January 2015 and December 2016, there was a 2,370 percent increase in identified exposed losses.

"Cybercriminals are constantly adapting their attack methods. For instance, this latest ESRA analysis reflects how impersonation attacks are getting through existing email security defenses at an alarming rate. If a CISO isn’t reviewing its current email security solution on a 12-18 month basis, they may be surprised at what threats are now getting into employees’ inboxes," says Ed Jennings, chief operating officer at Mimecast.

"At the same time, email security providers need to ensure they’re doing their due diligence to protect customers from new attacks, whether they be advanced or simple. The Mimecast ESRA results show a clear need for the security industry to come together in the fight against email-borne threats."

Mimecast’s report, Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA), analyzed more than 40 million emails, almost nine million spam messages, 8,318 dangerous files and 487 unknown malware attachments.

You can find the full Mimecast report on this link.

Published under license from, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved.

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