Impersonation attacks have increased 80 percent quarter on quarter, according to a new report.

Mark Mayne

The latest figures show that Impersonation or Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks have spiked enormously over the last quarter, clocking up an 80 percent increase quarter-on-quarter to hit a total of 41,605.

According to the new ESRA report from Mimecast, which tests the efficiency of email security systems, a significant 203,000 malicious links within 10,072,682 emails were deemed safe by other security systems – a ratio of one unstopped malicious link for every 50 emails inspected.

“Targeted malware, heavily socially-engineered impersonation attacks, and phishing threats are still reaching employee inboxes. This leaves organisations at risk of a data breach and financial loss,” said Matthew Gardiner, cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast, in a statement. “These are difficult attacks to identify without specialised security capabilities, and this testing shows that commonly used systems aren’t doing a good job catching them.”

The ESRA report also identified 19,086,877 pieces of spam, 13,176 emails containing dangerous file types, and 15,656 malware attachments that were allegedly missed by incumbent providers and potentially delivered to users’ inboxes. As part of the cumulative assessments, Mimecast claims to have inspected more than 142 million emails that have passed through organizations’ incumbent email security vendors