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Inky Technology Corporation 2019 Predictions: Robot Phish in a Sea of Email

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Dave Baggett, CEO and Founder, Inky Technology Corporation

Robot Phish in a Sea of Email

Almost 300 billion emails are sent every day and this number is steadily rising. Thankfully the days of the Nigerian Prince email scams are largely behind us and not many people are fooled by the cheap parlor tricks of a lazy phishing attempt, however in 2018, we at INKY see a future where the very defenses we have employed for protection are likely to be intercepted by the criminal and ultimately turned against us.

As the sophistication of phishing attacks increases, the ability for even a trained user to distinguish between a real and a fraudulent email is rapidly diminishing.

The same machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques that protect our email today will inevitability be repurposed to do harm, the future of email protection will be a virtual game of cat and phish, fought not by your IT team but by smart adaptive algorithms - on both sides.

To protect the fidelity of email, phishing prevention systems must adapt to identify and nullify zero-day attacks. The level of sophistication in our defenses must be greater than the strength of the most persistent phishing attacks.

The reliance on phishing aggregators will diminish with each minute an active phishing attempt goes undetected, racking up the possibility of millions in losses. According to the most recent APWG Phish Activity Rends Report June 2018 a full 35% of phishing websites employed https:\\ or had an active SSL certificate, we suspect that this is just the beginning. The most effective phishing attacks are those that offer the deepest layers of legitimacy and AI and Machine Learning offer the criminal the ability to adapt in real-time to the actions of a potential victim or their phishing defense software.

Many phishing attempts are socially engineered over weeks and months, establishing and validating trust before the crime is committed. This threat vertical often defeats the common Bayesian algorithms used to weigh the statistical risk of a transiting email. Further threatening email fidelity and compounding the challenge, are legacy phishing prevention applications that advertise their existence to a potential cybercriminal, arming them with a blueprint for an organization's defense before an attack has even begun.

While the phishing attacks of the future will become more sophisticated, so must our defenses.

Employee training will diminish as the frontline of organization defense. Phishing aggregators will fall too far behind the tidal wave to be effective. And those phishing defense platforms that remain to fill the space must come both armed and adaptable. The only effective anti-phishing software will be one that grows, learns, adapts, and can pivot -- not based on a fixed statistical model -- but on a living adapting algorithm. Robot Phish vs. Robot Phish.

The phishing defenses of the future must do more than mimic a human operator... they must surpass it. Email remains the most pervasive and convenient form of business communication and as such, it remains the single greatest security risk to any organization. The monetization of data necessitates next-generation phishing platforms that can adapt and react and real-time.

Future threats require future solutions. At INKY we are determined to stay generations ahead of the cybercriminal, maintaining trust in tomorrow's internet means adapting to tomorrow's threats.


About the Author


Dave Baggett is CEO and Founder of Inky Technology Corporation, a cloud-based email security platform designed to be more than just artificially intelligent.  Prior to INKY Dave co-founded ITA Software, the travel search provider that was acquired by Google in 2011 for $700M.  Dave has a B.S./B.A. in Computer Science and Linguistics from the University of Maryland, College Park and a S.M. in Computer Science from MIT. He is a Trustee of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, and a Member of the UMCP Computer, Math & Natural Sciences Board of Visitors and Chair of its Entrepreneurship Task Force.

Published Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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