If INKY had its own zodiac calendar, 2021 would have been known as the Year of the Phish. And, unlike the Chinese Tiger, Rat, or Dragon, the phish would never be associated with good luck. In fact, the 2021 zodiac phish (if there were such a thing) might be best described as clever yet insidious; sophisticated though deceptive; powerful and destructive.
A Quick Look Back at What INKY Saw
The world had a lot to contend within 2021. The pandemic raged on for a second year, and various parts of the world contended with historic flooding, volcanic eruptions, Hurricane Ida, deadly tornadoes and cyclones, and even a typhoon. And through it all, unscrupulous hackers continued to wreak havoc on the lives of millions – taking cybercrime to new heights.
INKY helps companies secure email and was therefore perfectly positioned to see – and catch – some of the year’s most complex phishing attacks. In its 2021 End of Year Email Security Report, INKY analysts summed the year up well when they said, “2021 saw a rise in the volume, impact, variety, and sophistication of phishing attacks”.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Phishing attacks are becoming more expensive as business sectors saw the average cost of a data breach increase anywhere from 20% (Communications) to 93% (Media).
- The healthcare sector saw the largest losses, with the average total cost of a data breach averaging $9.2 million per incident.
- The presence and use of phishing sites are up 27% from the prior year.
- Phishing attack volume grew into the double digits, with a 22% increase in phishing during the first half of 2021 alone.
- New cybercrime trends arose in 2021, including the use of free hosting services, which many Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) deem to be safe.
- Preying of pandemic fears continues into 2021, as hackers devised phishing campaigns disguised as mandatory vaccination forms.
INKY’s cloud-based security platform proactively and instantly scans inbound, internal, and outbound email to stop the types of phishing and malware attacks detailed in the 2021 End of Year Security Report. Many of these sophisticated ploys were new in 2021, while others added new twists to more familiar phishing schemes.
Phishing volumes certainly increased, and some of the most notable catch included:
- Plain Text Phish
- Phone Scam Emails
- Advance Fees
- Impersonation with Credential Harvesting
- Unicode Use in Brand Impersonation
- SharePoint Fax Scam
- Microsoft Table Logo Impersonation
- Stolen Amazon SES Token
- Morse Code Obfuscation
Understanding the details of how these sophisticated email phishing threats can infiltrate your company’s email systems can be powerful information when it comes to determining whether or not you’re using the right email security service or platform. In fact, the potential data breaches, ransomware, and other malicious emails INKY catches are those that loosely-protected companies fall victim to. That’s because INKY in-line positioning means it sits below the SEG, allowing it to see and catch threats that other email security solutions miss. The INKY platform was designed for mobile-first IT organizations and works seamlessly on any device, operating system, and mail client.
INKY’s patented technology incorporates sophisticated computer vision, machine learning models, social profiling, and stylometry algorithms to effectively sanitize emails, rewrite malicious links, detect and block security threats, mitigate sender impersonation, and more. The Email Assistant then flags each email with a message banner that alerts the reader to any potential danger - red for DANGER, yellow for CAUTION, and grey for SAFE. This helpful “assist” acts as a subtle bit of cyber-training and helps employees make safer email decisions.
Future Phish of 2022
So, what’s on the horizon, following the Year of the Phish? Sadly, it doesn’t take an ancient philosopher or professional astrologer to see what’s ahead. 2022 is slated to be another year in which cybercriminals continue to tighten their hold on vulnerable companies. In particular, the successful ransomware attacks we saw throughout 2021 will only fuel the greed…motivating phishers new and old to create new and deceptive phishing campaigns.
The only way to keep your company safe is by investing in the right email security protection. INKY is the industry’s best solution for the security of your email. Cost-effective and powerful, INKY can be implemented quickly, regardless of whether your employees work at the office or remotely. Uniquely effective at reducing your cyber-threat risk, INKY uses computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, to search for signs of fraud. It works on any device - including mobile – protecting inbound, outbound, and internally sent mail.
Learn more about the phishing threats facing your company by reading INKY’s 2021 End of Year Security Report. Then, find out how to protect yourself by scheduling a free demonstration. Request an INKY demonstration today.
INKY is an award-winning, cloud-based email security solution developed to proactively eliminate phishing emails and malware while simultaneously providing real-time assistance to employees handling suspicious emails so they can make safer decisions. INKY’s patented technology incorporates sophisticated computer vision, machine learning models, social profiling, and stylometry algorithms to effectively sanitize emails, rewrite malicious links, detect and block security threats, mitigate sender impersonation, and more. Cost-effective and powerful, the INKY platform was developed for mobile-first IT organizations and works seamlessly on any device, operating system, and mail client. Learn more about INKY™ or request an online demonstration today.