Email Security More Critical Than Ever as Advanced Email Attacks Spike in May

June 10, 2021

Abnormal Security saw a significant increase in attacker activity in May 2021. Advanced email threats rose across virtually all industry sectors, with the median rate of advanced email-based attacks increased by 64% between the first and last weeks of May. The bulk of this increase was driven by a rise in phishing attacks, which rose by over 150% in this time period.

In addition to increasing the number of email attacks, attackers also focused more efforts on breaching employee email accounts. Between the first and last weeks of May, the rate of confirmed account takeovers increased by 83%. In the same time frame, unsuccessful account takeover attempts, utilizing strategies such as credential stuffing and brute force attacks, increased by 138%.

Combined with the recent increase in high-profile ransomware attacks, this data leads us to believe that we have entered into a period of heightened risk, as cybercriminals are emboldened by the prospect of large financial payouts. A solid cybersecurity strategy is more important than ever for companies and individuals to secure their resources. Practicing good password hygiene, including regularly changing passwords, requiring multi-factor authentication, disabling legacy authentication, and utilizing advanced email protection are all essential as we navigate this new higher-risk landscape.

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