Email security ‘a ticking time bomb’ in the finance industry

As email volumes grow, so does the likelihood of email attacks

woman typing on laptop at desk

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As financial services companies grow, so does their dependence on email. However, the increasing use of email brings with it the potential for a rise in cyberattacks, and leaders in the industry are worried.

These are the conclusions of a new report from cybersecurity company Mimecast, which states that almost two-thirds (62 percent) of financial services organizations believe it’s either likely, extremely likely, or inevitable that they will suffer an email-borne attack this year.

In the past twelve months, email volume at financial services companies rose 81 percent – and the number of attacks rose in tandem. Almost two-thirds (60 percent) of respondents admitted to experiencing more phishing attacks, while 42 percent said their brands were misused or abused in email attacks.

According to more than half (57 percent) of respondents, the volume of attacks is one of their biggest email security challenges this year, together with “increasingly sophisticated threats”.

But despite the obvious threat, companies are doing very little to protect themselves, the report asserts. Less than half (44 percent) organize security awareness training for their employees at least once a month, and 47 percent said they don’t have a cyber-resilience strategy.

“As email remains the most common threat vector and its volume and sophistication of attacks is expected to increase, financial firms need to layer multiple security technologies to protect their email systems,” explains Johan Dreyer, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast.

“This will ensure any active threat can be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. Such multi-layered defenses complement and backstop one another – if a given attack sidesteps one defense, there are others in place that can stop the threat.