Cloud Storage Providers Will Overtake FSI Companies as the Prime Targets of Phishing Attacks in 2017

Yesterday while delivering his keynote at RSA Conference 2017, Brad Smith, President and Chief of Legal Microsoft very aptly pointed towards a very typical syndrome we all humans suffer from: Inquisitiveness. "90% of intrusions begin with a phishing email and every company has at least one employee who will click on anything." Phishing, as an art, does invoke this emotion of inquisitiveness and out of that comes out a whole can of worms that starts the destruction.


This was proven in the recent Phishlabs Report "Hacking the Human" that was released earlier this month. The report analyzed one million confirmed malicious phishing sites in 2016 residing on over 170,000 unique domains.


The report of 2017 says that cloud storage sites will likely take over financial institutions as the top targets of phishing attacks in 2017. The phishing volume grew by an average of 33% across five most targeted industries. What is more astonishing is that the attacks targeting government tax authorities have grown more than 300% since 2014.


While America may claim to be doing everything regarding Cybersecurity, the fact is that 59% of these phishing sites were hosted in the US. There has been a significant increase in the number of phishing sites hosted in Eastern Europe.


The report also highlights the fact that Ransomware attacks, the predominant type of malware being distributed via the process of phishing, are now focusing on organizations that are more likely to pay ransoms such as healthcare, government, critical infrastructure, education and small businesses.


More than 91% of all phishing attacks in 2016 targeted five industries: financial institutions, cloud storage/file hosting services, webmail/online services, payment services and ecommerce companies. Basis the trends, report emphasizes on the fact that cloud storage services will be the prime most target of these attacks in 2017. Yet another industry that has seen an exceptional growth in the number of phishing attacks is Software-as-a-Service. 


US is the largest target of these phishing attacks (81%) followed by many others like Britan (3%), France (4%) China, Canada, and Germany (2% each) and then others.


Countries where the volume of hosted phishing sites decreased includes India (-33%). 

So its a proven fact that phishing is by far the most prevalent delivery mechanism of ransomware In 2016 threat actors evolved their tactics from targeting individual victims to companies that were more likely to view paying ransom as their best bail out option to stop business disruption. Schools, small businesses, government agencies, critical infrastructure facilities and healthcare are the prime targets of the phishing attackers.   

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Rahul Neel Mani

Rahul Neel Mani is the Co-founder and Editor of Grey Head Media. Rahul has nearly 20 years of experience in ...

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