Woman Using Laptop Protected by Domain Discover for Email

More than 40% of ASX100 Organisations Face Increased Email Fraud Risk

November 20, 2019
Crispin Kerr

Australia’s companies rely on an ever-expanding ecosystem to conduct business with integral stakeholders, including suppliers, vendors, employees, customers, and partners. And in order to be successful, these relationships are based on an inherent trust in email communications. For example, it’s not uncommon for global organizations to leverage thousands of suppliers, and emails containing sensitive information are exchanged between these groups every day. But what happens when a cybercriminal impersonates a trusted vendor asking that payment is wired to a new account? Or a customer receives a fraudulent notification that they need to reset their password?

Unfortunately, many organizations have not implemented email authentication best practices. Because of this, they may be unknowingly exposing themselves to cybercriminals aiming to capitalize on intricate supply chains and potentially trick critical stakeholders with fraudulent emails.

In an examination of the ASX100, Proofpoint uncovered that 42 percent of these organizations have not published a DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) record, making them susceptible to cybercriminals spoofing their identity and increasing the risk of email fraud targeting users. DMARC, which is an email validation protocol designed to protect domain names from being misused by cybercriminals, authenticates the sender’s identity before allowing the message to reach its intended designation. It verifies that the purported domain of the sender has not been impersonated and relies on the established DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) standards to ensure the email is not spoofing the trusted domain.

Additionally, only 14 percent of ASX100 organizations observed have implemented the recommended (strictest) deployments that block malicious emails from reaching intended targets. In other words, 86 percent of Australia’s largest companies aren’t leveraging established best practices for email security.

Global impostor email attempts increased more than 400% year-over-year, according to recent Proofpoint research. And while these are generally highly targeted attacks that are sent to specific people within organizations – those that have the authority to execute wire transfers or send sensitive information - companies were targeted 120% more frequently by these impostor email attacks in Q1 2019 vs. the same quarter in 2018.

Today’s Australian business climate requires constant email communication with a multitude of manufacturers, suppliers, resellers, employees, and customers. With 90 percent of cyberattacks coming through email, securing this vector has never been more important. Effective security requires a people-centric approach that caters to the most attacked and vulnerable individuals. We recommend implementing robust email defences and inbound threat blocking capabilities (including deploying DMARC email authentication protocols), combined with cybersecurity awareness programs that train users to spot and report malicious emails.

For more information on DMARC, email fraud, and Proofpoint’s email security solutions, please visit: https://www.proofpoint.com/au/product-family/email-protection. And for more information on How to Get Started with DMARC, please visit: https://www.proofpoint.com/us/resources/white-papers/getting-started-with-dmarc.