Almost half of UK employees can't spot email scams

An @ sign on a fish hook

Almost half of UK workers (42%) are unable to identify email scams that claim to be sent on behalf of Royal Mail, according to new research.

The figures come from cyber security firm OpenText Solution, which surveyed 2,000 British employees from companies that have less than 1,000 members of staff.

With the average business targeted 28 times by cyber threats in the past year, the research from OpenText suggests that almost half (44%) of large organisations have suffered network downtime because of successful phishing attacks.

A key issue here, according to OpenText, is a lack of knowledge amongst all staff; 60% of respondents suggested they had no knowledge of 'BEC', which stands for 'business email compromise'. What's more, 50% said they had no understanding of the term 'DDoS' or 'distributed denial of service'. This, OpenText suggests, demonstrates a clear need for organisations to cut out "jargon" when it comes to educating their employees on cyber security.

However, the lack of understanding of terminology could be a direct result of 29% having never completed any form of cyber risk training. Around seven in ten or 70%, of the respondents, also suggested they would be worried to report they had compromised the security of their organisation, which suggests a change of mindset is needed in these businesses.


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With employees often the first line of defence for an organisation, cyber awareness education is becoming increasingly sought after. There's no use investing in sophisticated cyber security software if employees click on dangerous phishing links and grant cyber criminals access to the business network or confidential data, according to Matt Aldridge, a principal threat consultant at OpenText Security Solutions.

"It's like turning on a fancy home security alarm but leaving a window open - you'll be left playing catch-up after the bad guys get in," Aldridge said. "To ensure cyber resilience, employees need to be educated on the latest risks as soon as they are discovered - whether that's the Royal Mail scam or the multitude of other threats."

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.