Research: Increasing Business Email Compromise (BEC) Incidents Push Corporations To Prioritize Email Anti-impersonation Initiatives

Valimail Study Finds Alarming Number Of Organizations Believe They’ve Been Victims Of Phishing, Spoofing, And Impersonation Attacks  

San Francisco, August 1, 2018 - Valimail, the world's only provider of fully automated email authentication, shared research findings today that indicate most companies believe they’ve experienced serious data breaches driven by email impersonation in the past 12 months – but are not doing nearly enough to prevent future impersonation attacks.

The new Valimail-commissioned study, “Email Impersonation Attacks: A Clear and Present Danger,” revealed:

  • 80 percent of respondents are very concerned about the state of their companies’ ability to reduce email-based threats
  • 65 percent are likely to implement an automated DMARC enforcement solution if it stopped impersonation attacks
  • 79 percent believed their organizations had suffered a data breach in the last year
  • 69 percent say their organizations use anti-spam and anti-phishing filters as their primary protections even though those mechanisms have been proven to be ineffective
  • 61 percent felt their companies aren’t spending enough to prevent email-based cyberattacks, in spite of a sense of urgency among IT professionals
  • 59 percent say their organizations have not created a security infrastructure or plan for email security

"With the dramatic rise in impersonation attacks as a primary vector for cyberattacks, companies are re-assessing the balance of their security efforts,” said Alexander García-Tobar, CEO and co-founder of Valimail. “While traditional approaches are good for filtering malicious content and blocking spam, impersonation attacks can only be stopped with email anti-impersonation solutions. Individuals at all levels of a company, including customers and clients, are vulnerable to phishing, fraud, and impersonation attacks.”

The study, conducted by Ponemon Institute, found that IT security professionals were most worried about email as the source for impersonation attacks, including phishing and domain spoofing. The study surveyed 650 IT security professionals who have a role in securing email applications and/or protecting end-users from email threats. The average company in the study has more than 1,000 employees, six servers, and 15 cloud-based services that send email on their behalf – indicating they operate with complex email environments.

As more companies recognize and respond to email vulnerabilities, Valimail executives expect to see organizations deploy a layered defense that adds Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) authentication standards to their existing secure email gateway (SEG) technologies and anti-phishing training.

"Companies can strengthen their security against email fraud with automated solutions and close that disconnect between email threats and preventive action," García-Tobar said.

"We were surprised to see a vast majority of companies who believe that they have had a breach involving email but are not yet embracing automated anti-impersonation solutions to protect themselves proactively,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute. “Adopting fully automated solutions for DMARC enforcement that provide email authentication will help companies get ahead of the attackers and build trust with their clients and end users."

The full report is available here.

Valimail is the trusted leader in automated email authentication, with a comprehensive platform for anti-impersonation, brand protection, and anti-fraud defense. Valimail's patented, standards-compliant technology provides an unrivaled, fully automated solution to stop phishing attacks, improve deliverability, provide comprehensive visibility of legitimate as well as unauthorized email senders, and protect organizations’ reputations. Valimail authenticates billions of messages a month for some of the world's biggest companies, in finance, government, transportation, health care, manufacturing, media, technology, and more. Valimail is based in San Francisco. For more information visit www.Valimail.com.