Today in Cyber Security, May 3, 2024 - North Korea Takes Advantage of Vulnerable Email DMARC Configurations, Plus Verizon's Recent Study on Numerous Data Breaches.

Digital artwork showing a cyber security expert analyzing compromised email systems with North Korea's map in the background, and a report titled '2024 Verizon Data Breach Analysis' on the desk.

Martin Kouyoumdjian |

The Current State of Cyber Security: May 3, 2024

North Korea Exploits Weak Email DMARC Settings

In a recent cybersecurity development, North Korea has been identified as exploiting weak Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) settings in email systems across the globe. DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. The efficacy of DMARC, however, is significantly reduced when domain owners do not configure their settings to the highest level of protection.

This loophole has allowed North Korean cyber operatives to conduct phishing campaigns and spread malware with increased effectiveness. By impersonating legitimate email addresses, these cyber attackers have been able to bypass traditional spam filters and antivirus measures, leading to a rise in successful cyber-attacks. Experts underline the importance of setting DMARC policies to a more restrictive mode, thereby preventing unauthorized use of domain names and significantly reducing the risk of email spoofing.

Verizon's Analysis of Thousands of Data Breaches

Verizon has released its annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) for 2024, providing insights into the latest trends and patterns in data security. The report, which analyzes thousands of data breaches and security incidents across the world, highlights a sobering reality: despite increased awareness and investment in cybersecurity, data breaches remain a critical threat to organizations of all sizes.

The 2024 DBIR reveals that financially motivated cybercrimes continue to dominate the threat landscape, making up 86% of all breaches. The report also sheds light on the fact that 70% of breaches were perpetrated by external actors, with organized criminal groups responsible for a significant portion. These findings suggest a pressing need for businesses to adopt a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes both technological and human elements.

Verizon's analysis underscores the effectiveness of basic security measures such as strong password policies and two-factor authentication. However, it also emphasizes the growing sophistication of cyber-attacks and the need for advanced security solutions that can adapt to evolving threats.


The recent exploitation of weak DMARC settings by North Korean cyber operatives and the findings from Verizon's DBIR for 2024 serve as a crucial reminder of the ever-present and evolving nature of cyber threats. While technology continues to advance, the human element remains a critical vulnerability. As such, education and awareness, alongside robust technical defenses, are key to safeguarding against the myriad of cyber threats facing organizations today. The global cyber community must remain vigilant and proactive in its approach to security, continually adapting to the shifting landscape of cyber threats.

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