Published on November 29, 2023, 3:14 pm

The Growing Threat Of Malicious Web Links And Phishing Attacks

Malicious web links and phishing attacks continue to be a significant concern for individuals and organizations worldwide. According to a recent research paper by cybersecurity experts Hornetsecurity, phishing attacks have seen a 4% increase year-on-year, making it the most common form of email attack (39.6% – 43.3%). Hackers are constantly evolving their tactics by altering email formats and attachments to bypass spam filters.

In addition to phishing attacks, the study found that emails containing harmful web links have risen significantly. Last year, such emails accounted for 12.5% of all threats, but this year that number has jumped to 30.5%, an increase of 144%. Hackers have shifted their focus from macros in Word and Excel files (which decreased by 9.5% and 6.7% respectively) to HTML files (37.1%), PDFs (23.3%), and Archive files (20.8%). The most popular among these new additions are HTML files, which have experienced a growth rate of 76.6% in the past year alone.

When it comes to impersonating major brands in malicious emails, DHL is the most frequently used target at 26.1%, followed by Amazon (7.7%) and FedEx (2.3%). Other notable mentions include LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Netflix with percentages ranging between 2-2.4%. These findings indicate that threat actors do not discriminate based on industry or business type; any organization capable of paying a ransom is a potential target.

According to Daniel Hofmann, Hornetsecurity CEO: “Many organizations are too reactive when it comes to cybersecurity, only responding after they have fallen victim to an attack. Businesses need to adopt a zero-trust mindset and implement comprehensive security services to protect themselves proactively.” He emphasizes the adaptability of cybercriminals and the rapid shifts witnessed in their tactics over the past year.

To safeguard against email-borne attacks, organizations should prioritize proactive security measures instead of relying solely on reactive responses. The research industry, entertainment companies, and the manufacturing sector are among those most frequently targeted by cybercriminals. Implementing a zero-trust approach and comprehensive security solutions can help organizations mitigate risks and ensure their protection.

In conclusion, cybersecurity threats such as malicious web links and phishing attacks continue to evolve, making it crucial for individuals and businesses to prioritize proactive security measures. By staying informed about the latest trends in cyber threats and adopting a zero-trust mindset, organizations can better protect themselves from potential attacks.


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