Margot Carmichael Lester

by Margot Carmichael Lester

Mimecast Contributing Writer

Posted Aug 16, 2017

High volumes of email and social media posts increase the risk of cybercrime

Every minute, we’re handing hackers and other cybercriminals everything they need to take advantage of us.

According to data published in the Business Insider, there’s a lot of opportunity for cybercrime in just one 60-second period because there are:

  • 156 million emails sent
  • 1.8 million Snaps created
  • 462,000 messages tweeted
  • 90,000 Facebook logins made

Why should you care? Remember that in one of these Internet minutes, HBO fell victim to hackers who are now holding 1.5 terabytes of its data hostage. Ouch.

 

Email is the New Land of Opportunity

When we do the math for a 40-hour workweek – and you know we’re working way more than that – the total number of emails transmitted is 374.4 billion.

That's a whole lot of chances for the bad guys to trick us into handing them the privileged credentials or other access they need to steal our data, install ransomware, or tank our productivity with useless spam.

“We couldn’t have designed a better attacker platform if we had tried!” exclaims Matthew Gardiner, a senior product marketing manager at Mimecast. “Email’s cheap, global, strangely trusted – given the Internet has no inherent security – fast, flexible, etc.”

While the huge volume of email is challenging for a human to comprehend and manage, it’s not a major issue for a computer or cloud service, which readily processes much more volume. Mimecast, for example, handles billions of emails a month on behalf of its customers.

But don’t get distracted by the big numbers.

“The most dangerous attacks are not high-volume assaults. They’re highly targeted ones, enabled with just a handful of emails,” Gardiner says. “Part of the challenge is pulling the bad needles out of that huge email haystack.”

 

Social Media Aids & Abets Cybercrime

And it’s not just the emails that should be giving us heartburn. Social media activity makes it easier for cybercriminals to create more credible ruses.

Data collected by HootSuite and We Are Social and published in The Next Web shows that around 40% of the global citizenry uses social media. And many of those posts provide valuable information about travel plans, relationships and more. Armed with these pertinent insights, the baddies rely on social engineering to dupe us into trusting their phishing or CEO impersonation emails. Argh!

“There basically are no secrets,” Gardiner warns. “Thinking that attackers can’t know as much about you as your colleagues do is flawed. There is so much data online about you and your company, and enabling tools that are either free or cheap. You must assume that the cybercriminals know everything they need to know to pretend to be someone or some organization that is highly timely, relevant, and compelling to you.”

But, hey, I’m not laying all this data on you to demoralize you. Knowledge is power, my friend.

Understanding how many opportunities for cybercrime exists every minute of every day makes it easier for you to advocate for stronger cybersecurity across your organization, and to purchase the tools and technology you need to provide it.


Margot Carmichael Lester

by Margot Carmichael Lester

Mimecast Contributing Writer

Posted Aug 16, 2017

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