New research from Hornetsecurity finds that 40 percent of all inbound emails pose a potential threat, including spam, phishing and advanced threats such as CEO fraud and any type of malware.

Phishing, malicious links, and ransomware are among the most popular attack tactics of emails used by hackers with brand impersonation being especially popular.

Brand impersonation involves cybercriminals copying a company’s corporate design and mimicking the sender address in such a way that it can be hard to distinguish from the original. The main aim being to obtain the user’s access credentials or to spread malware via hidden links. At 16.5 percent, Deutsche Post and DHL are among the top five most frequently imitated brands.

The study also highlights the rise of ‘ransom leak’ attacks. These involve sensitive data first being copied and then encrypted. If the targeted victim refuses to pay a ransom for decryption, the cybercriminals threaten to publish the copied data on their so-called leak websites. Around 140 files have been published on REvil’s ransomware leak website so far, with new ones being added almost daily. A large volume, yet REvil is only in fifth place among the leak websites with the most published data from ransomware victims.

The full report is available from the Hornetsecurity site.

By Ian Barker/betanews

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