Mimecast report: Legacy email security systems failing to provide sufficient security protection

    Latest ESRA detected thousands of known malware and impersonation attacks getting past systems meant to protect organizations

    RSA CONFERENCE 2018– SAN FRANCISCO – Mimecast Limited (NASDAQ: MIME), a leading email and data security company, today announced the availability of its quarterly Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA), a report of tests that measure the effectiveness of incumbent email security systems. This quarter’s assessment reports that these systems missed 11,653 emails containing known malware, which should be the easiest to identify, as they are detectable by commonly deployed endpoint-based anti-virus technologies. Additionally, the report noted a continued challenge of securing organizations from unknown malicious attachments, dangerous files types, impersonation attacks, as well as even basic spam.

    As part of the assessment, Mimecast inspected more than 95 million emails, all of which had passed through organizations’ incumbent email security vendors. These organizations, in 20 different industries, invested millions of dollars to deploy a variety of commonly used on-premise and hybrid email security systems. The latest report found more than 14,277,163 pieces of spam, 9,992 emails containing dangerous file types, and 849 unknown emails with malware attachments -- all missed by the incumbent providers and delivered to users’ inboxes. Most notably, 11,653 known emails with malicious attachments passed through these systems, an increase of 532 percent in comparison to last quarter’s assessment. Impersonation attacks also continue to be a problem for organization, as 23,072 were caught – increasing 22 percent in comparison quarter over quarter. The report indicates the need for organizations to enhance their cyber resilience strategies for email.  

    “Mimecast’s ESRA is aiming to establish a standard of transparency that raises the bar for all security vendors helping organizations pinpoint weaknesses in their defenses,” said Matthew Gardiner, cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast. “Emails ranging from opportunistic spam, targeted impersonation attacks and unknown malware are getting through incumbent email security systems. The security system of one primary cloud email platform missed 76.6 percent of the aggregate impersonation attacks while another global security vendor missed the 83.4 percent of the ‘known’ malware attachments.”

    Mimecast recently conducted global research with Vanson Bourne on the state of organizations’ cybersecurity, what attacks they’ve seen increase, and their level of confidence to thwart these evolving attacks. The findings were based on responses from 800 IT decision makers and C-level executives. Not surprisingly, and consistent with the results of the Mimecast ESRA report, organizations are forecasting a challenging future, with nearly 60 percent of respondents having said their organization is likely to suffer a negative business impact because of an email-borne attack in 2018.

    Also in line with the ESRA results, despite efforts, email-borne attacks are on the rise.  The clear majority of Vanson Bourne respondents have seen untargeted phishing attacks (94 percent) or targeted spear-phishing attacks (92 percent) with malicious links in the past 12 months, with the volume of both attacks increasing 56 percent over the last year. Most respondents also reported seeing email-based impersonation attacks asking either to initiate wire transfers (87 percent) or for confidential data (85 percent) over the last year.

    “Mimecast’s multilayered security inspection system is engineered to include more than 100 analytic techniques and threat data sources provided both by in-house development and third-party sources, including 3 separate AV engines, file sandboxing, static file analysis and other techniques. No single technique can be relied upon to stop the rapidly evolving attacks and organizations need to ensure they also have continuity during, and automated recovery after an attack to achieve cyber resilience for email,” Gardiner added.


    About Mimecast

    Mimecast (NASDAQ: MIME) makes business email and data safer for thousands of customers and their millions of employees worldwide. Founded in 2003, the company's next-generation cloud-based security, archiving and continuity services protect email and deliver comprehensive email risk management.

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