People Impersonation Attacks Are On The Upswing In Email: Study

Distracted workers are increasingly being hit with phishing attacks that impersonate colleagues, customers or vendors, according to Email Security Challenges, Trends and Benchmarks, a study released this week by security firm GreatHorn. 

Of the professionals surveyed, 48.7% have seen such attacks. And 35.1% say people impersonation attacks are their top email threat.

In addition, 42.4% have seen brand impersonations in their inbox, up from 22.4% in 2019. And 10% cite these as their top threat, versus 4.8% last year. 

All this shows that “organizations continue to be inundated with email-based attacks, most notably impersonations, that require constant remediation," states GreatHorn CEO Kevin O'Brien.

Intervention appears key, with 33.6% say they are remediating an email attack every day, a 165% increase over the 12.7% reported in 2019. 

Filtering must have improved because only 32.9% have seen spam/graymail in their inboxes, compared with 53.3% last year. 

But it may be too good -- 48.3% have had to go into their junk or spam folder to retrieve a legitimate email. This is up from 30.7% in 2019. 

Meanwhile, 21.9% have seen a wire transfer request in their inbox, down from 26.3% in 2019. But the percentage seeing credential theft attempts rose from 24.1% to 28.1% this year. 

GreatHorn surveyed 640 IT, security and C-level personnel. 

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