As security teams look to shore up their organization’s vulnerabilities, email represents a critical attack vector to address. Through highly targeted email attacks known as spear phishing, attackers are consistently compromising the security defenses in place, proving the need for a next-generation threat protection platform.

FireEye research indicates that, on average, organizations encounter malware events once every three minutes1. Today’s new breed of cyber attacks routinely circumvent firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, anti-virus, and other defenses. Legacy security technologies that rely on signatures, blacklists, and other indicators are not working because today’s threats are dynamic, targeted, and multi-staged.

This newsletter, which features the Gartner research2 “Email Security Focus Shifts to Address the Risks of Targeted Attacks and Data Loss”, focuses on one of the multi-vector attributes of today’s attacks -- the email threat vector. 

The New Breed of Email-based Cyber Attacks—and What it Takes to Defend Against Them

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The new breed of cyber attacks have combined a range of different tactics, but it is clear that there is one very common characteristic: spear phishing is the primary channel through which the attacks are initiated. Operation Aurora, GhostNet, Night Dragon, the RSA breach, and the majority of the other attacks that have been publicly documented have been initiated at least in part through targeted spear phishing emails.

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1 Based on FireEye end-user data
2 Gartner Research "Email Security Focus Shifts to Address the Risks of Targeted Attacks and Data Loss", Peter Firstbrook, August 29, 2012

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