Spear Phishing Tops the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center’s List of Attacks



Fraud Background Design. Criminal Offence Word Cloud Concept.The latest data out of the Canadian Government points out how targeted spear phishing fraud attacks via email are the most lucrative method of attack for cybercriminals in 2019.

Fraud hits both businesses and individuals alike. In either case, there is usually some form of initial communication (via phone, text, or email) looking to scam the potential victim out of as much as possible. The FBI estimates that Business Email Compromise (BEC) in 2019 cost businesses a total of over $1.7 Billion, making phishing attacks one of the most lucrative methods of fraud.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s (CAFC) latest report, spear-phishing in 2019 was the number fraud one attack type based on total dollar loss:

  • Spear Phishing was responsible for over $21 Million in reported losses – the highest of any fraud category in their report
  • It also represented the highest loss/attack, at a little over $48,000 per attack.

Spear phishing requires some initial diligence to identify victims, proper scam messaging, and contextual details to ensure the scam seems real to the victim. So, given the high average loss in each attack, it’s less likely these are individuals reporting successful scams, but businesses, being attacked.

It should also be noted that according to the CAFC, they estimate that only 5% of all fraud cases are reported, potentially multiplying the losses by a factor of 20!

Businesses need educated employees that are savvy to the ways of cybercriminals. Those organizations that put employees through continual online Security Awareness Training are best equipped with the knowledge necessary to see through even the most detailed and targeted of scams, and to protect the organization by failing to fall for the phish – even one that’s designed for a specific individual, role, or company.


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