Are Messaging Apps Increasing Security Threats for Businesses?

By Stefania Viscusi December 18, 2023

SafeGuard Cyber recently unveiled its 2023 Business Communication Risk Report, which sheds light on the significant security challenges faced by businesses today (especially when it comes to cloud-based collaboration tools).

The report, compiled from proprietary data extracted from the SafeGuard Cyber platform (which investigates and remediates security threats in cloud-based business communications channels), found that there is an evolving threat landscape especially when it comes to popular messaging apps today.

The rise of cloud-based collaboration tools (and the blending of personal and business use cases) has given rise to a new type of cyber threat known as "Business Communication Compromise." (And cybercriminals are focused on exploiting these collaboration tools to gain access to login details, financial reports, and other sensitive data.)

The report found that 42% of businesses faced security incidents based on employees using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) devices in the business setting and also using tools like WhatsApp.

To clarify, WhatsApp is a top choice for business communication, but it comes with risks. A whopping 42% of messages that raised security or compliance concerns happened on WhatsApp. Other platforms like Telegram, Slack, and Teams also had their share, with 24%, 17%, and 17%, respectively. These apps being widely used in business makes them vulnerable. Notably, 42% of flagged messages set off impersonation warnings, signaling a notable risk of falling victim to social engineering attacks.

The report's findings point to a critical need for robust protection measures.

Another key issue, according to the report, is that most employees don't even know they are sending files in breach of regulatory compliance.

And with many users shifting away totally from even sending emails to use these messaging apps, it's become important that businesses also adjust their security strategies to align with these new behaviors.

Using advanced technologies, organizations can gain better visibility and understanding of language-based attacks across collaboration channels, ensuring secure and resilient communications.

“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.

SafeGuard Cyber's platform, utilizing Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), monitors millions of messages daily across multiple languages and countries. The platform enables organizations to fortify their defenses against this newly identified threat category.

Edited by Alex Passett
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