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Email Security Survey: 75% of Companies Hacked in Past Year

A new survey conducted by Osterman Research and co-sponsored by Cyren shows that 75% of businesses surveyed incurred a security breach in the past 12 months. The top two culprits? Email phishing attacks infected systems at 37% of the companies, while 24% of respondents suffered successful ransomware attacks through file encryption. 

The 75% number is definitely trending in the wrong direction — it compares unfavorably to the 71% of IT managers and security professionals who reported a breach in the prior 12 months when responding to a similar survey conducted last June, also by Osterman.

A white paper entitled “Is Your Email Security Working? A Survey of the State of Ransomware, Phishing, and Business Email Compromise,” is available for download from Cyren, and was the topic of a webinar presentation on January 18, now available for on-demand viewing. For further background on these topics, check out the Cyren phishing threat report and our ransomware resource page.

The survey explored the top email security issues faced by IT managers and security decision-makers, in particular ransomware, phishing and “Business Email Compromise” — essentially whaling, or sometimes called “CEO fraud.” It refers to a sub-genre of spearphishing, with the goal of crafting extremely pointed and believable attacks on senior executives, which can extend to the hackers first infiltrating an organization’s network with malware to learn business processes and capture extensive communications.

The survey also found that average security spend per employee was $58.33 in 2016, and that while 62 percent of companies plan to increase their security budget in 2017, the average overall increase of less than 1% suggests spending has plateaued, especially in contrast to a 23% jump from 2015 to 2016 (Osterman, June 2016).

2017 Email Security Survey

It’s clear that the reported “death of email” has been greatly exaggerated. The survey notes that in a typical workday employees rely on email more than the telephone, instant messaging and social media combined. The typical business email user sends a median of 30 emails and receives 100 each workday, spending 2.5 hours a day doing something in email. It’s no surprise that email-delivered security threats are increasing rapidly and costs companies hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Is your email security up to the challenge of protecting your business against ransomware, phishing and business email compromise? Download the survey white paper now to learn more about these threats and what you can do to protect your business.

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