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Significant growth in anti-phising tools as channel moves to protect users

Figures from Context and research from Mimecast shine a light on the impact of spam and phishing attacks

There are signs that security spending has been a source of growth for the channel coming out of various sources, ranging from vendors to analysts, with it clear that the explosion in home working has been accompanied by an increase in criminal activity.

One area where the demand has been significant is with anti-spam tools, with Context charting a 524% rise in channel sales of the security tools in the year so far, compared with the same period in 2020. There have been a number of high-profile attacks, including scams pretending to be Post Office parcel delivery queries, that have been bombarding users since the start of the pandemic.

It’s not just anti-spam, but the demand for security tools to protect users has seen continued momentum this year, with data protection up by 102% and mail security improving by 30%.

The demand for cloud security has been rising, with growth in that segment up by 22%, but not everything with a security label on it is selling in vanloads. Endpoint security was down by 11% year-on-year and network security was down by 3.5%. But Context did sound a note of caution that making comparisons against a period that included the first lockdown is always going to be difficult.

“Phishing is involved in a large percentage of data breaches, and concerns are mounting over the impact on corporate finances and reputation, so we’re seeing strong growth in cloud-based anti-spam, data protection and email security products,” said Joe Turner, manager of research and business development at Context.

“However, it’s important to remember that one of the biggest and most unpredictable risk factors in corporate cyber security is users, so any product investments should be accompanied by a renewed focus on employee training and awareness-raising programmes,” he added.

Research from Mimecast last week indicated that many customers were struggling to keep their email systems secure. The firm shared findings that revealed that less than 42% of UK businesses have an email platform that provides protection.

Attacks becoming more sophisticated

The shift to digital has fuelled the rise in attacks, with 56% of IT directors agreeing there have been more attempts at cyber attacks via email since March 2020. A similar number stated that they felt the attacks were becoming more sophisticated.

“These findings highlight the rising threat to organisations of email-based attacks. The last 12 months have seen the acceleration of digital transformation and businesses have more dependent than ever on digital communications. Cyber criminals understand this and are constantly looking to capitalise on the chaos created by the pandemic, targeting millions of suddenly remote and disoriented workers,” said Brian Pinnock, cyber security expert at Mimecast.

“Email attacks are not only becoming more frequent, but also more sophisticated. Alongside the pandemic, organisations have been confronted by a digital pandemic of email-borne malware, phishing attacks and ingenious uses of social engineering to compromise their systems,” he added.

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