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Phishing Emails Are Becoming Even Harder To Identify

By December 13, 2019May 9th, 2022Cybersecurity

According to data collected by Microsoft, phishing emails accounted for 0.62 percent of all inbox receipts in September 2019.

That’s up from 0.31 percent just one year prior to that.

The increase is alarming of course, but at first glance, these look like fairly harmless numbers.

Unfortunately, last year, phishing emails targeting business owners (BEC, or Business Email Compromise) cost companies around the world more than a billion dollars last year.  That fact makes the year over year increase terrifying.

The reason BEC campaigns are so successful and so expensive for businesses is that the scammers tend to impersonate CEOs and other high-ranking corporate officials.  When you get an email that by all outward appearances comes from your boss, and it’s marked urgent, you tend to respond right away.  That’s exactly what the scammers are counting on.

Even worse, scammers have gotten increasingly good at crafting their emails.  It has reached the point that even IT professionals have been taken in by them in some cases. They’ve been unable to spot the subtle differences between a scammer’s email impersonating a CEO and an email from the CEO himself.  If an IT professional gets taken in, what hope is there for a busy HR employee or someone from the accounting office who doesn’t face those types of threats on a daily basis?

Given the rapid increase in the number of well-crafted phishing emails, this is a serious, legitimate concern. Unfortunately, bolstered by their own success, you can bet the scammers will be even more prolific.

If there’s a silver lining here it is this:  Microsoft reports that taking the simple step of enabling two-factor authentication across the board is an effective countermeasure.  Phishing attacks tend to be automated, and 2FA blocks 99.9 percent of automated attacks. If you’re not currently using it everywhere, you’re putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.