Released today, the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report has highlighted just how critical email protection is. According to the report, phishing remains big business, with 32% of data breaches using phishing techniques.
The most worrying finding, however, was the focus that cybercriminals are now placing on targeting C-level executives. As we all know, senior executives often have wide ranging access due to their seniority in the business. However, they’re also extremely time-poor and sometimes have executive assistants managing their email accounts for them.
The report reveals that senior executives are 12 times more likely to be the target of social incidents, and nine times more likely to be targeted by social breaches than in previous years. This comes as no surprise to us, as senior executive attacks are often extremely lucrative, adding many zeros onto the end of cybercriminal revenues.
However, there’s good news for those working in human resources (HR). Attacks on HR teams are down – six times fewer HR personnel have been impacted this year compared with last year.
The report suggests financial motivation remains the key driver and with that in mind, it’s clear that cyber criminals are still going where the money is. If we’ve learnt anything in our time in cyber security, it’s that criminals always respond to what is going to get them the most income and attacks aimed at senior executives are clearly what’s working at the moment.
All of this illustrates more clearly than ever, that security technology by itself is no longer enough. It is imperative that employers educate their staff - at all levels - to be more aware, especially when it comes to phishing and social engineering attacks.
Chris Ross is the senior vice president of International Sales at Barracuda Networks
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