Guardian Digital Blog

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In our recent blog post Think Like A Criminal: How To Write A Phishing Email, we examine phishing from the eyes of an attacker to help you understand and protect against this notorious email scam that is to blame for over 90% of all cyberattacks. In this article, we briefly touch on social engineering - or techniques that attackers employ to manipulate psychology. Considering 98% of all cyber attacks rely on social engineering, we want to provide readers with more information on the topic and advice for protecting against social engineering attacks. Here is what you need to know about social engineering in 2020.

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Six months into this unprecedented pandemic, there has been a seismic shift in the way businesses operate. With a large portion of the global workforce now working remotely, email use for business communications is at an all-time high - and so is the digital risk that users and organizations face online daily.

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Email risk is at an all-time high for businesses. Threat actors have taken note of the money to be made in this industry, and are devoting more time and resources than ever to crafting highly sophisticated and targeted attack campaigns. CEO fraud is at the forefront of the global email threat landscape, with attacks being reported in all 50 states and in 150 countries. Despite its name, this $26 billion scam is not only a concern for C-suite executives - finance, HR and IT employees and all members of a company’s executive team are also frequent targets in CEO fraud attacks.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to embrace a 'new normal'. Companies have had to adjust operations, and many workers have been asked to work from home - either over a corporate network or a network tied to a cloud-based system like Office 365. While working remotely undoubtedly has its benefits in terms of safety, morale and decreased employee turnover, it has also brought on significant new challenges for businesses - one of the most serious being email security.

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Email threats are ever-evolving. Cyber criminals are persistent in their efforts, continually working on perfecting their craft - employing new, increasingly sophisticated methods, tactics and techniques to deceive users, evade security defenses, and ultimately, get paid. 

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In last week’s Behind the Shield newsletter, we explored the steadily increasing cyber risk that all businesses - especially SMBs - face on a daily basis. Threat actors are exploiting our new cyber security reality - remote workers’ increased reliance on cloud email, the hurried adoption of vulnerable cloud platforms and a widespread shortage of IT resources and funding - and are launching sophisticated phishing, ransomware and business email compromise (BEC) attacks aiming to steal sensitive data and large sums of money from victims.

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Email risk is big for small- and medium-sized businesses. Luckily, by understanding the threats you face and the measures you can take to defend yourself, you can make this risk significantly smaller.

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