Email is a regular method of attack for the cybercriminal because it is the easiest and most successful way to spread high-risk threats. This makes it one of the most popular vectors in a hacker’s arsenal.

The thing with hacking an email account is that the hacked account can be used for fraud. For example, a cybercriminal may gain access to a financial advisor’s account – and address book – and send spoof emails to clients asking them to make payments into their account.

“This kind of cyber attack is quite different from email attacks that contain malware. There are a number of reasons that attackers use this method: to make a political point, sabotage, revenge, and of course, to make money. These cyber criminals will use a number of different means to get money out of the targets, such as keyloggers, phishing and social engineering,” explains Indi Siriniwasa, vice-president of Trend Micro: sub-Saharan Africa.

AI and machine learning are already making inroads as far as preventing spam from getting through to the user, and it’s now being employed to effectively prevent scams that use compromised, legitimate email accounts. The technology that exists now analyses the user’s writing style, based on previous emails and compares it to the fake emails.

“There are so many industries that are affected by business email compromise – from education through to healthcare. AI and machine learning can enhance protection, potentially preventing corporate disaster. Trend Micro is always looking at new algorithms with machine learning specifically designed to deal with large volumes of data. Cyber criminals are not resting on their laurels – neither are we,” concludes Siriniwasa.