Guardian Digital Blog

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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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Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, email risk is greater than ever - especially for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that threat actors are taking advantage of the increased dependence upon cloud email that businesses have in midst of this worldwide crisis. According to DHS, cyber thieves are leveraging our heightened anxieties in today’s new digital world with “an increase in phishing attacks under the guise of themed emails containing attachments.”

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