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Kelly Sheridan
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Google Shines Light On Corporate Gmail Threats

New data highlights the diversity of security threats putting corporate Gmail inboxes at risk.

New research from Google shows how different types of email attacks are more likely to land in corporate inboxes than personal ones.

Each minute, Google prevents more than 10 million unsafe emails from reaching users who could fall victim to phishing attacks or malicious attachments, report Ali Zand and Vijay Eranti of Anti-Abuse Research and Gmail Abuse at Google.

At last week's RSA Conference, Google shared data on the diversity of security threats to corporate Gmail accounts.

Spam is a common problem, for example, but malware and phishing attacks are more likely to target enterprise users. Attackers send 4.3x more malware, 6.2x more phishing emails, and 0.4x as much spam to corporate inboxes than to personal email accounts.

Cybercriminals pick their victims based on several variables: the size and type of the business, industry, and geographical location. In a landscape where no two corporate entities face the same threats, security managers must adjust their strategies to align with specific attacks.

Looking at business inboxes as a baseline, Google found attackers are 2.3x more likely to target nonprofits with malware, followed by educational institutions (2.1x), and government-related industries (1.3x). Businesses are more likely to be targeted with phishing and spam attacks.

Research also shows entertainment, IT, and housing-related companies are most frequently targeted by spam as of Q1 2017. Financial, arts, and IT-related businesses are most targeted by phishing, and targeted financial phishing has increased. Ransomware is the largest malware threat.

The company also pulled interesting data on how spam varies across geographies. India and Japan have the most spammed inboxes as of Q1 2017. The world's largest spammers -- USA, Germany, and France -- target other countries.

Google takes these types of findings and uses them to improve security across its products and services. It employs deep learning to stay ahead of spammers and prevent email abuse, and reports less than 0.1% of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam.

Check out more details on the Google blog.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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Jet Hedon
Jet Hedon,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/22/2017 | 4:45:34 AM
That much ?
"more than 10 million unsafe emails from reaching users" : This is such big volume. I'd like to know how they can handle that much
MFA is required security, not additional security
Very interesting data from Google and I'm glad to see new features like S/Mime for gmail. Still prefer client-side but have accepted that most users can't handle the complexity. It's upsetting to see so many still approach MFA as additional security rather than a required security. 

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