Machine Learning

SafeGuard Cyber unveiled the 2023 Business Communication Risk Report

SafeGuard Cyber data confirms enterprises lack proper security measures to effectively protect cloud-based business collaboration and messaging tools

SafeGuard Cyber today unveiled the 2023 Business Communication Risk Report, revealing unique patterns and correlations in business communications. Findings show that almost half (42%) of businesses report employees with BYOD devices in business settings that use tools like WhatsApp have led to new security incidents. Further, the report shows that 66% of threat indicators are found in transient messages associated with cloud-based collaboration tools.

The report’s proprietary data was pulled from the SafeGuard Cyber platform, used to investigate and remediate security and compliance threats across cloud-based business communications channels. Tracking hundreds of millions of messages, in over 52 languages across 72 countries, key findings include:

  • Enterprises lack proper security measures to effectively protect cloud-based business collaboration tools. Almost half (42%) of businesses report employees with BYOD devices in business settings that use tools like WhatsApp have led to new security incidents.
  • Messaging channels like WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and Teams face constant threats, emphasizing the need for robust protection. 66% of threat indicators are found in transient messages associated with these cloud-based collaboration tools.
  • WhatsApp is gaining popularity for enterprise communication, but not without risk. Of the messages flagged for security or compliance risks, 42% occurred in WhatsApp, 24% in Telegram, 17% in Slack and 17% in Teams.
  • Popular messaging apps are commonly used to carry through social engineering attacks. Of the messages flagged, 42% are trigger impersonation warnings.
  • Employees are sending files in breach of regulatory compliance laws. Of the messages flagged, 23% include attachments that are flagged as potentially sensitive and in breach of regulatory compliance laws.
  • Today’s threat landscape is multilingual, and cyber criminals will target victims wherever they are. For global companies that operate in multiple markets and multiple languages, the threat is very clear. Of the messages flagged on WhatsApp, 24% are in a language other than English.

“Clearly, there is an evident shift away from traditional email for business communication. Employees have carried over the use of popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram from their personal lives to conduct business. Although beneficial for productivity, our data indicates that the rise of these apps means new entry points for bad threat actors,” said Chris Lehman, CEO, SafeGuard Cyber.

According to report findings, employees monitored on the SafeGuard Cyber platform that use WhatsApp for customer engagement averaged 200 mobile messages per day. Further, data shows that customers are more likely to engage with content via WhatsApp than any other platform:

  • 15 minutes is the average time to view messages
  • More than 30% of messages in WhatsApp are opened in less than 5 minutes after receipt
  • More than 85% of content messages are viewed/opened in the first hour

These numbers validate an employee’s decision to use a cloud-based tool for customer communication, yet many enterprises lack effective security measures to monitor these instances.

Continued Lehman, “Enterprises need to adjust security strategies that will complement human behavioral patterns. As easy as it is for an employee to engage a customer through WhatsApp, a hacker can carry out a simple phishing attack in hopes of tricking a user into revealing sensitive information. The answer here is through unified visibility and contextual analysis.”

SafeGuard Cyber enables companies to monitor and oversee, round-the-clock messages communicated through channels like WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, Teams and others. The platform monitors an average of millions of messages per day, in over 52 languages across 72 countries.

The proliferation of cloud-based collaboration tools and the new personal/business crossover has created the newest attack category, Business Communication Compromise. Cloud-based apps and tools have become a staple in business, and yet humans remain the greatest threat to the enterprise – whether intentionally or accidentally. Bad threat actors target the full range of collaboration tools to exploit login credentials, financial reports and other proprietary data.

Organizations must fortify their defenses to protect critical data and operations; much of this relies on gathering greater visibility over business communication channels. With the help of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), enterprises can understand the full breadth of biz comms. ML and AI tools can reveal the context and intent of language-based attacks across collaboration channels.

The 2023 SafeGuard Cyber Business Communication Risk Report can be downloaded here. And for more information on how to navigate the digital world and ensure secure and resilient communications, visit www.safeguardcyber.com.

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