The threat of cyber attacks continues to be a major issue for organisations at present, with the connected nature of the modern business world meaning many companies fall victim to online threats each year.

Now, new research published by F-Secure has highlighted the most common dangers for businesses at present, with threats via email now a considerable "pain point" that many businesses are having to deal with.

The Finnish cyber security firm revealed in its latest Incident Response Report that more than one-third (34 per cent) of all recorded network breaches currently take place via malware delivered by email or through phishing scams.

As a result, the company has warned that email inboxes could now be the "weakest link" in any business' data security programme. Indeed, F-Secure principal security consultant Tom Van de Wiele stated: "Exploiting software vulnerabilities in drive-by scenarios is typical in opportunistic attacks, but breaching companies via email is actually far more common."

He warned that organisations should be training their staff on what to look out for as the hallmarks of suspicious email. However, he also noted that in many cases, the pressures of work lead to many people forgetting the basics of email best practice, and this is something the attackers are quick to exploit.

According to the report, the most common post-breach activity undertaken by attackers is to disseminate malware throughout a company's network – mostly this is targeted at achieving financial gain, but in some cases it is also used to develop surveillance on a business for future purposes.

Mr Van de Wiele concluded: "There's a lot of different ways different attackers can use email, and these attacks are popular because almost every company relies on email for communication."

Enhancing and reinforcing best practice around the use of email should therefore be a top priority for all companies hoping to better safeguard their sensitive data in future.

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