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Email still the favorite getaway tool for data thieves, study finds

Cyber criminals continue to use email as a main vehicle for stealing data and delivering advanced threats, according to a recent study by security company Mimecast.

The company surveyed 1,025 global IT decision makers and found that 61 percent think their organization will be negatively impacted by email-borne threats this year.

Social engineering attacks are an increasing concern for organizations because they’re often among the most difficult to control. The report found that impersonation attacks increased 67 percent in comparison with the results in last year’s report.

About three quarters of the organizations (73 percent) that were affected by impersonation attacks experienced a direct loss, specifically loss of customers (28 percent), financial loss (29 percent) and data loss (40 percent).

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Phishing attacks were the most prominent type of cyber attack, with 94 percent of respondents saying they had experienced phishing and spear phishing attacks in the previous 12 months. More than half (55 percent) cited an increase in phishing attacks over the same time period.

The report also found that business-disrupting ransomware attacks are up 26 percent in comparison with last year. About half of respondents noted having downtime for two to three days, and 31 percent experienced downtime for four to five days.

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