Cyberattacks Increase, DMARC Fights Email Spoofing

Russia-linked hackers tried to access Hillary Clinton's server at least five times with a phishing scam containing virus-riddled attachments in 2011. That finding was revealed by yesterday’s release of 6,300 more pages of Clinton’s email during her time as Secretary of State.

The emails, disguised as New York State speeding tickets, contained an attachment with malicious software that would have, if opened, allow hackers to control the victim’s computer.

There is no evidence implying the hackers succeeded in their attempt.

It is important to note that attachment-based attacks are now the go-to strategy for would-be hackers, according to Proofpoint researchers.

Proofpoint’s first half of 2015 threat report revealed the majority of hackers sent messages with Microsoft Word documents containing a virus delivered by the Dridex botnet. This is a change from 2014, when URL-based attacks were more popular.

There has recently been a large increase of hackers using Dridex, which in August was infecting 27,000 PCs daily according to researchers at Trustwave Spiderlabs.

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It’s not just a consumer threat, either. One out of every six businesses admitted to confronting a cyberattack in 2014, with hackers threatening $315 billion worldwide, according to a recent International Business Report.

Interestingly, the same process that improves email marketing ROI is also a critical tool to protect companies from email-related cyberattacks.

“Email authentication, especially DMARC, is the best tool available in the fight against phishing scams,” says Sebastiaan de Vos, Head of Deliverability at Emarsys.

DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, is an email validation system that detects email spoofing. Spoofing is a typical tactic of spam and phishing hackers, who send messages from fake email addresses.

Sender domain authentication is now critical to email marketing. Marketers who implement DMARC in their email authentication process see higher deliverability rates because their messages are considered safe and reliable, due in part to the DMARC systems in place by providers to detect spoofing.

 

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