1971: The email revolution

A bit more than 50 years have passed since Ray Tomlinson sent the first email ever! It was in 1971. 

"Tomlinson's email program brought a complete revolution and fundamentally changed the way people communicate." - Wikipedia.

The first business communication media

With around 320 000 000 000 emails sent every day across 5000 Million mailboxes, email is still the king in 2022!

More than 50 years after the first email, companies still rely on Email as their number one form of reliable communication. If you can "talk" using virtual calls (such as Zoom) and IM tools (such as Slack), you cannot send a proper messages. Only email messages are complete, trackable, and meant for all types of recipients.

Great success attract big threats

Email has largely replaced postal mail. It has the same important role in every day life... but it has also brought similar problems. Our letterbox used to be overflowing with junk mail, newspapers, promotions, competitions and beggers' letters, Many people put a "no advertising wanted" sticker on their letterbox. Did it do any good? Maybe it allowed them not to receive main store advertising, but all personally addressed envelopes still got into our letterbox.

Email: Number one for cyber attacks!

The "no junk sticker" is called "spam filter" as generic electronic terms for email inboxes, and it should ensure (e)mailboxes are not overfilled with rubbish. However, individual unsolicited emails still get into our mailbox!

Well wrapped up spam emails are most of the time the most threatening to our data. Is the sender genuine? Has the content been tampered with? Is there something harmful in the attachment etc.?

And this is the reason why it's the number one attack vector for Social cyberattacks (through phishing and compromised emails),  the main cause of computer security breaches, together with human errors and credential theft. 

Email problems... 50 years later

51 years after their birth, we face the following email issues:

  • NetSTAR shows that the number of phishing attacks increased during COVID-19. In some areas, this number has more than doubled, and it grew over 600% in others. 
  • With the outbreak of COVID-19, hackers changed their tactics to target those who are working from home, so one of the most impersonated brands now in email attacks is Zoom
  • Verizon shows that 60% of phishing attempts are targeted at people’s credentials, while 50% are also looking for additional personal information. Some other kinds of information that can be obtained in a phishing attack are: Medical records, Bank statements, Secrets, Classified information, Payment records, and IT system data.
  • Since scammers are particularly focused on money, invoice and payment fraud has increased by 112% in the first half of this year. The most likely targets of these phishing emails are finance employees, compared to 87% of individuals working in other industries. 
  • In the second quarter of 2020, the number of malicious attachments increased by about 6.5 million in 1 year. It’s important to know that malicious attachments don’t only come in the form of .exe files. According to Symantec, the most common type of malicious attachments are .dot and .doc files (37%), followed by .exe at 19.5%.

SMBs Are Also Under Threat

Studies have recently shown that SMBs are more often becoming a target of cyberattacks. For some companies, one attack is enough to shut down completely since, according to the US National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of SMBs fail in a few months following a cyberattack. This statistic urges SMBs to consider prioritizing cybersecurity.

Email is paramount to corporate productivity. But it can also be its downfall.