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Sunday, 28 July 2019 21:45

Email attacks having a major impact on businesses: study Featured

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Email attacks having a major impact on businesses: study Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Email attacks are having a major impact on businesses around the world and impacting the personal lives of IT security professionals, with a new study finding that phishing and ransomware attacks are the most significant concern for the IT professionals.

The survey commissioned by cloud security and data protection solutions vendor Barracuda Networks indicates that, overall, while most IT professionals (74%) are more confident about their email security systems than they were a year ago, email attacks continue to have a significant impact on businesses.

The survey includes responses from 660 executives, individual contributors and team managers serving in IT-security roles in the APAC, Americas and EMEA regions.

And the most common effects cited were loss of employee productivity, downtime and business disruption, and damage to the reputation of the IT team.

Other key findings of the survey include:

• Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported experiencing higher stress levels, worrying about potential email security even when they’re not at work, and being forced to work nights and weekends to address email security issues.

• Phishing and ransomware are top concerns.

        o 43% of organisations have been the victim of a spear phishing attack in the past 12 months.

• Breach costs and monetary losses are on the rise.

        o 78% of organisations said that the cost of email breaches is increasing.
        o 66% claimed that attacks have had a direct monetary cost on their organisation in the past year.
        o Nearly a quarter of respondents advised that attacks have cost their organisation $100,000 or more.

• Employees remain a major weak link in an organisation’s security defenses.

        o More than three-quarters of organisations said their employees aren’t good at spotting suspicious emails.

• There are growing concerns about insider threats and Office 365.

        o 79% of IT professionals said they are worried about attacks and breaches stemming from inside the organisation.

        o 92% of Office 365 users have security concerns.

Based on what Barracuda describes as “the success and proliferation” of email-based attacks, the security firm warns that IT security professionals will need to stay focused on the evolution and the escalation of phishing, ransomware, and other threats - and “improve email security that goes beyond the traditional gateway”.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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