AI Mitigates Your Company’s Biggest Email Security Risk: Users

March 18, 2022

An employee’s inbox is actually a gateway to danger. Damaging cyberattacks like ransomware, business email compromise (BEC), credential compromise, brand impersonation fraud, account takeover (ATO) and other horrors arrive in employee inboxes every day as the malicious cargo of phishing messages. One fatal click can put any organization on the path to a cybersecurity disaster. But today’s smart machines and solutions can leverage advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to perform any number of specialized tasks – including keeping phishing messages away from your employees. 

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People Make Bad Choices When Handling Email 

The top security threat that any organization faces is human beings. Human error is responsible for an estimated 90% of security breaches according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index. The reigning champion of security risks is something that every IT team is painfully aware of as they grapple with it daily. Users receive a flood of email messages each day, and the actions that employees take when handling those email messages either directly contribute to their company’s security success or doom it to failure. 

Most of today’s nastiest cyberattacks involve phishing. From ransomware to a data breach, phishing is at the heart of it all. Even sophisticated nation-state attacks often start with a phishing email in a bid to launch the nation-state cybercriminals’ preferred weapon into a company’s environment: ransomware. Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to entice employees into interacting with a phishing message using tricks like social engineering, and they’re often successful. An estimated 97% of employees in a wide array of industries are unable to recognize a sophisticated phishing email. That makes employees a company’s greatest email security risk.  

Humans Make Errors 

  • 30% of phishing messages get opened by targeted users. 
  • One-fifth of employees fall for phishing tricks and interact with spurious emails. 
  • 45% of employees open suspicious emails because they’re afraid of missing an important message. 
  • 1 in 3 employees are likely to click the links in phishing emails.   
  • 1 in 8 employees are likely to share information requested in a phishing email.     
  • 60% of employees in the U.S. open unexpected email messages     
  • 45% of employees never report suspicious messages to IT for review.      
  • 41% of employees fail to notice a phishing message because they’re tired.   
  • 47% of workers fail to spot phishing because they’re distracted. 

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4 Major Factors Drive Risk

Here are 3 of the major reasons why employees make mistakes handling email

The Always-On Mentality  

In a 2020 survey of worker habits, about 60% of employees noted that they are working in environments where distractions are commonplace. Many of those employees have adopted an always-at-work approach that can lead to email handling errors — 73% of the employees surveyed said that they regularly read and respond to work email outside of their working hours, and almost one-quarter of employees (24%) reported they handle work email while doing other things.  

Stress & Distraction 

Employees who are dealing with undue stress at work or at home are likely to make cybersecurity mistakes. Over 50% of respondents in a working habits survey admitted that they were more error-prone while stressed. More than 55% of workers in an employee error detection survey admitted that they were frequently off-balance when doing their jobs, leading to security blunders – 40% said they made more mistakes when they were tired or distracted. Altogether 43% of the workers surveyed reported that they had made mistakes resulting in cybersecurity repercussions for themselves or their company while working remotely.    

A Dismal Security Culture 

In a strong security culture, employees are more conscientious because they’re more invested in their company’s security success. That starts with making sure that employees know that they’re part of the security team too. Unfortunately, far too many employees have missed that memo – 45% of respondents in a HIPAA Journal survey said that they don’t need to worry about cybersecurity at all because they don’t work in the IT department. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Lack of executive buy-in to security initiatives is also a factor.  A commitment to fostering a healthy security culture has to come from the top, and many executives aren’t interested. IBM cites simple bravado followed by unfamiliarity with potential risks as a strong driver of failure in top-down security culture – 60% of SMB owners feel that they will not face any kind of cybersecurity incidents

Negligent Remote Workers

Remote workers drive the risk of an email security blunder with security repercussions up. About 90% of IT executives in an IBM survey of remote workforce cybersecurity trends believe remote workers pose a security risk in general, and more than half believe that remote employees pose a greater security risk than onsite employees. That’s because remote workers can more easily take actions like downloading data, connecting unauthorized devices to company networks or perpetrating cyberattacks themselves. Remote workers are also highly likely to be impacted by distraction, tiredness or stress from multi-tasking. and more.  Companies need to be prepared to mitigate the security risks presented by remote workers long term. Gartner reports that 85% of company leaders say that they plan to allow employees to continue remote or hybrid work permanently and that means that elevated insider risk because of remote workers is here to stay too. 

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Stop Employee Mistakes from Jeopardizing Your Organization’s Security

Almost 95% of security leadership respondents in a Statista survey said that securing Digital Transformation initiatives is a cybersecurity priority post-pandemic. Take your email security to the next level with AI-powered, automated protection from Graphus.  

 Graphus is an automated email security solution that is powered by AI. That means that it can intelligently sort and filter the emails that come into a company’s environment to determine which ones are safe and which ones are suspicious. How does it do that? By using a unique, patented algorithm that fosters machine learning, enabling it to learn each company’s unique communication patterns and refine its judgment criteria all by itself to tailor that company’s protection now and in the future.     

  • TrustGraph® automatically detects and quarantines malicious emails that might break through an organization’s email security platform or existing Secure Email Gateway (SEG), so the end-user never interacts with harmful messages.    
  • EmployeeShield® alerts recipients of a potentially suspicious message to danger that they may not notice by placing an interactive warning banner at the top that allows users to quarantine or mark the message as safe with a single click.    
  • Phish911™ empowers employees to proactively report suspicious and unwanted emails for IT to investigate reducing your exposure to potential disaster.   

Stop phishing immediately with Graphus – the most simple, automated and affordable phishing defense available today.

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