Armorblox, releases today its 2023 Email Security Threat Report, which documents the rise in targeted attacks, and a shift in trends across a range of attacks and highlights the use of language to bypass existing email security controls.
Armorblox’s threat research team compared threat data from 2022 to data collected from 2021’s report and found that business email compromise (BEC) attacks have increased by 72 percent year-over-year. Armorblox continues to see high volumes of language-based and socially engineered attacks targeting organizations of all sizes and across industries, where language in the email is used to compromise a user’s trust.
In other trends, vendor compromise and fraud are rising as a new attack vector and graymail is wasting 27 hours of time for security teams each week.
The Armorblox report is based on data gathered across more than 58,000 customer tenants, analyzing more than 4 billion emails and stopping 800,000 threats every month.
Key findings in the report include:
- Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable to vendor fraud and supply chain email attacks. More than half of vendor compromise attacks targeted technology organizations (53 percent).
- Bad actors are infiltrating legitimate business workflows to steal sensitive business information. Business workflows involving email notifications were the most compromised, a significant uptick over 2021. Half of all attacks involve sensitive user data, such as user login credentials (52 percent).
- BEC attacks continue to evolve. Language remains the main attack vector in 4 out of 5 (77 percent) BEC attacks that bypassed legacy solutions in 2022.
- With the widespread use of email for business communications, half of account compromise attacks targeted SMBs (58 percent), proving to be a persistent and prevalent threat.
- 20 percent of BEC attacks involved graymail or unwanted solicitation and security teams can find themselves spending upwards of 27 person-hours a week manually sorting and deleting graymail across inboxes.
- Of all attacks in 2022, half bypassed legacy security filters (56 percent).
- In 2022, there was a 70 percent increase in phishing attacks, compared to 63 percent in the previous year.
Further, financial fraud attacks such as payroll, payment, and invoice fraud increased by 72 percent over 2022 and are expected to continue to rise in 2023 with banking turmoil in the headlines. With tools such as ChatGPT, in 2023 it is expected to see a significant increase in the total number of BEC emails that flood user mailboxes inside of organizations. With an increasing hybrid approach to work, more campaigns will rise that use work-from-home-related reasons to target employees.
The Armorblox 2023 Email Security Threat Report presents the associated trends for targeted email attacks across the following threat types – vendor compromise, BEC, financial fraud, phishing attacks, impersonation attacks, account compromise, and graymail. The report uncovers the vulnerabilities in legacy email security filters, the sensitive user data at risk across compromised business workflows, and the gratuitous work security teams juggle in response to high volumes of graymail emails.