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99% Email Attacks Require Human Interaction: Security Researchers

September 10, 2019 / Anmol Sachdeva

Email-based cyber attacks have become common these days. I am not the only one receiving emails saying that the file in the attachment contains data that I might be interested in knowing. Social engineering has become one of the major tools attackers use to lure targets into opening links or attachments. A report by Proofpoint titled “The Human Factor 2019 Report” analyzes how email attacks rely on human interaction rather than automated exploits. Based on data obtained by screening 1 billion messages per day over 18 months, the report concludes that more than 99% of the attacks require human interaction to succeed. Persuasive social engineering makes it difficult to distinguish a fraud email from a genuine one. Most attacks structure an email in a manner that it looks like they have received from a trusted source like Google, Microsoft, or a known contact.