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Mimecast: SMBs See 2x Number of Cyber Attacks Than Large Companies

Mimecast, a prominent email and collaboration security company, has released its Q4 Global Threat Intelligence Report, unveiling a landscape fraught with extortion campaigns, geopolitical tensions, and escalating cyber attacks against small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The report, which delves into the threat landscape for Q4 2023, provides critical insights and actionable recommendations aimed at bolstering cyber defenses.

Among the key findings of the report is the evolution of ransomware threats, which have transitioned from traditional crypto-ransomware attacks to more sophisticated breach-for-ransom and double- and triple-extortion strategies. ALPHV Blackcat, one of the major threat groups highlighted in the report, reportedly compromised over 1,000 victims, raking in more than $300 million in ransom payments by the end of the quarter.

Mick Paisley, Chief Security & Resilience Officer at Mimecast, underscored the magnitude of the threat landscape, stating, "We blocked nearly 250 million attacks against Mimecast-protected systems in January – a new record high for the business, highlighting the sheer scale of the threat." Paisley also expressed concern over the surge in cyberattacks amid escalating geopolitical tensions, emphasizing the need for organizations to fortify their defenses against malicious activities.

Another alarming revelation from the report is the disproportionate impact of cyber threats on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Users at SMBs encountered more than double the number of threats compared to their counterparts at large companies. The heightened risk for SMBs is attributed to a higher concentration of critical roles among employees, making them prime targets for cyberattacks. Additionally, SMBs' reliance on credential-based cloud services makes them vulnerable to credential theft, a prevalent phishing tactic.

The report also sheds light on a significant shift in attack methods, with threat actors increasingly favoring malicious links over attachments. This marks the first time that the average user is more likely to encounter a malicious link than a malicious attachment. As users become desensitized to the deluge of spam and phishing emails, attackers are capitalizing on this trend by directing users to malicious websites harboring payloads.

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