New Research Shows 133% Increase in Business Email Hacks

by Robert Best on May 2, 2019
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Increase in business email hacks

New figures have shown a dramatic increase in business email hacks. The report by Beazley has shown an increase of 133 per cent in what they call 'business email compromises'.

Beazley is a specialist insurer with 30 years of experience in underwriting and insurance claims. Beazley is a proud participant in the Lloyd's market, the largest and oldest insurance market in the world.

The findings of the report are based on information from investigations into thousands of data incidents in 2018.

Business email scams lead to an increase in malware

The 133% rise in business email hacks isn't the only worrying trend the report has highlighted. The Beazley report also shows the damage caused by the increase in business email scams.

The number of hack or malware incidents also increased in 2018.

Across every sector and every business size the number of malware related instances increased. The report stated that this was "largely owing to the 133% increase in business email compromises."

Hacking or malware makes up nearly half of all causes of cybersecurity incidents. At 47 per cent it is over double the next highest cause, accidental disclosure (20 per cent). The remaining top 5 were made up of Business Insider, Social Engineering and Portable Device as the cause.

Causes of incidents

Image from Beazley breach insights report

The report also showed how each business sector was being affected. Financial institutions accounted for 20 per cent of the cybersecurity incidents reported in 2018. Hacking or malware made up 59 per cent of the causes for those incidents. With professional services, that was the highest percentage across the sectors in the report.

As mentioned earlier the Beazley report attributes the rise to hacking and malware incidents to the growth of business email hacks.

What is causing the increase in business email hacks?

Because they are working. Phishing emails have become more and more sophisticated, making them harder to defend against. They are getting past even the best spam filters, and then they are tricking the recipients.

All a phishing email needs to do is trick one person in a business, and a hacker can gain access to the whole network or be able to spread malware across the entire business. For help on spotting phishing emails read our guide 'How to spot phishing emails'. 

How can you protect your business email?

Educating and warning your employees about the risks of phishing emails is an excellent place to start. Phishing emails prey on the precipitant, so you need to help your staff understand what to look for. Again, our guide on phishing emails will help you with that.

phishing emails

There are training options available to a business that can help educate your staff. KnowBe4 is "is the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform". They offer training courses so you can train the whole business. They also have free tools you can do to simulate phishing emails and see how your staff react to them.

Finally, if you use an IT support company, they can help. While it is impossible right now to block every single malicious email from hitting someone's inbox, there are ways to significantly reduce the number that do make it to inbox. Talk to your IT support provider for options on reducing phishing emails.


The increase in business email scams is directly linked to the rise in hacking and malware incidents. Social engineering and phishing emails have become more sophisticated and are giving hackers easy access to a business.

By protecting your business from malicious emails, you will make it harder for cybercriminals to target your business. The increase in hacking and malware incidents is affecting all sizes of business, no matter the size of your business you need to be aware of your threat.

The security of your business email is becoming more important. For more information on email security download our guide below or contact us on 01634 52 52 52 or email, and we can discuss your business email security.

state of email security ebook

Topics: IT Security

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