Over the last several years, nervous IT professionals around the globe have watched malware—once a minor nuisance—grow into an omnipresent threat that requires daily vigilance and mitigation.
The stakes have never been higher for malware attacks and data breaches. The 2014 Sony hack revealed embarrassing details about public figures and some experts think an email breach swayed the 2016 election. The financial costs are staggering too: a recent study found the fallout from malware infections and data breaches costs businesses $491 billion in 2014. That’s a significant chunk of their bottom lines.
It’s now 2017, and malware hasn’t slowed down, gotten weaker, or gone away. In fact, here are four hard truths that every IT pro should take to heart:
- Data breaches are increasing.
- Your network and corporate assets are or will be under assault.
- Malware is constantly mutating and proliferating.
- Ransomware is becoming a disturbing fact of life.
Email Is Your Death Star Exhaust Port
Remember the Death Star from Star Wars? It’s a planet-sized spaceship that’s nearly indestructible except for one weakness: a single 2-meter thermal exhaust port. So naturally, Luke Skywalker fires a missile straight into it. Kaboom.
When it comes to IT security, your organization is kind of like the Death Star. You’ve got a ton of protections in place: firewalls, patched servers, and physical security. But you’ve still got a weakness, your own thermal exhaust port. And that weakness is email.
If you think your organization is safe from email-borne attacks because you have cloud based email like Office 365 or G Suite supplemented with email security packages like EOP, Proofpoint, or Barracuda… think again.
According to a 2016 Vanson Bourne study of IT decision makers, 84 percent of organizations said a spear phishing attack successfully penetrated their organization in 2015. However, 71 percent also indicated that they already have some form of email security technology in place.
The Rogue’s Gallery of Email Threats
- Phishing attacks have grown more sophisticated. Recently discovered and zero-day malware stands an excellent chance of getting through standard filters (and being clicked on), especially if the malware is hidden in a non-executable file like a PDF or Office This is how many of the recent ransomware attacks were propagated.
Despite the lack of personalization, an astonishing 20 percent of recipients will click on basically anything that makes it to their inbox.
- Spear phishing is an enhanced version of phishing that takes aim at specific employees of a targeted organization with customized email content and other social engineering to make the emails seems more legitimate. Often the initial email will contain no URL or attachment at all. Rather, it will simply try to provoke a response and develop a “conversation” to lull the recipient into thinking the sender is legitimately whomever they are posing as. This often serves to fool many email security filters as well… since the hacker is now viewed as a “trusted” contact. Only after several back-and-forths will the hacker request confidential credentials or information, or send a booby-trapped URL or attachment.
The additional customization and targeting of a spear phishing email, along with the lack of easily recognized blacklisted URLs or malware, will generally get it past standard email filters. What’s worse, this same customization results in click-rates in excess of 50 percent!
- Ransomware typically seals off your organization’s data until you pay a ransom (an average of $679 according to Symantec.) Sometimes, hackers will add an additional blackmail threat of publicly releasing sensitive data. The vector for ransomware is overwhelmingly an email that convinces users to click on a malicious link or a malicious attachment.
Ransomware has cost businesses $1 billion in 2016.
Advanced Email Protection
Vade Secure patches the email security holes that EOP, Proofpoint, or Barracuda leave open. Our advanced email protection defends your organization against known and unknown threats including:
- Spear Phishing
- Zero-day attack
Our AI-powered approach to security identifies, analyzes and isolates malicious software before users have a chance to engage. These are supplemented with two different signature-based anti-virus scanners to uncover known threats.
Our solution uses:
- Technical analysis
- Fingerprint analysis
- Behavioral analysis
- Comprehensive file analysis
Vade Secure’s global network of 24/7 threat centers scan and analyze billions of emails every day. This massive data set is used to identify and stop emerging threats like polymorphic and metamorphic malware before they can reach our customers. On a daily basis, Vade Secure scans seventy million email attachments and over two and half million unique URLs.
These processes work in unison to ensure that every email your organization receives is legitimate. We make sure that emails are really coming from who they say they are, have innocuous attachments, and that URLs don’t lead to malicious phishing sites.
Our solution has successfully detected every variant of the Locky and CryptoLocker ransomware over the past several years with 100% accuracy.
Contact us today to learn about how our AI-powered email security can protect your organization from expensive and embarrassing cyber threats.