Phishing Attacks Are Up, But False Positives Abound: Study

Employees may be overdoing it when fighting phishing attacks.

A new study by Agari shows that 50% of the 23,053 phishing incidents reported within companies per year are false positives.

Investigating a phishing incident takes almost six hours, at a cost of $253, and even false positives take four hours, Agari says. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, as 96% of all data breaches begin with an email, Agarai reports. Successful attacks cost companies $7.9 million per incident.

Account takeover (ATO) attacks now make up 20% of all email incidents, the study notes. These are harder to detect than traditional attacks because they seem legitimate to both email filters and end users.

“Credential phishing was already a huge risk for organizations because of the potential for data breach, but now there is a new wave of account takeover attacks leveraging compromised accounts to commit additional fraud, which evade traditional email security controls,” states Crane Hassold, senior director of threat research for Agari.

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The study also reveals that one-third of advanced email attacks against C-level executives use display name deception that impersonates an individual.

Microsoft remains the most impersonated brand name. However, attacks impersonating the Internal Revenue Service surged in the fourth quarter -- making up nearly 10% of attacks, compared to less than 1% in the prior quarter.

W-2 scams proliferate around the tax season.

Agari also reports that DMARC adoption is up by 15% from the third quarter.

DMARC use by Fortune 500 companies rose to 54%, compared to 51% three months before.

Agari surveyed over 300 businesses in the U.S. and U.K.

 

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