95 percent of IT security professionals underestimate phishing risks

Phishing

A new survey of cybersecurity decision-makers shows that most companies lack adequate safeguards against phishing threats and many don't fully understand the risks or how widespread the threat is.

The survey from phishing site detection company SlashNext reveals that 95 percent of respondents underestimate how frequently phishing is used at the start of attacks to successfully breach enterprise networks.

Only five percent of respondents realize that phishing is the at the start of over 90 percent of successful breaches. In fact, phishing is one of the most used and most successful attack vectors, but despite multi-level security controls and phishing awareness training for employees, most organizations remain unaware of their increasing vulnerability to these threats.

While phishing attacks are often linked with emails, phishing attack vectors are expanding beyond email to other attack vectors including adverts, search results, pop-ups, social media, IM and chat applications, as well as rogue browser extensions and apps. Over half of respondents to the survey named the growing number of phishing attack vectors beyond email as a top three concern.

"Phishing tactics have evolved to using very fast-moving phishing sites and phishing attack vectors that evade existing security controls. And with such legitimate-looking phishing sites manipulating users, there is little to protect employees, not even phishing awareness training," says Atif Mushtaq, CEO and founder of SlashNext. "The solution involves a phishing detection system that can analyze and detect malicious sites like a team of cybersecurity researchers, but do it in real-time to protect users."

Among other findings 77 percent mistakenly think they currently have technologies that provide real-time phishing site detection capabilities. Yet 37 percent cite the inability of their current defenses to reliably detect phishing attacks as a top concern. 45 percent believe they experience 50 or more phishing attacks per month, while 14 percent believe they experience more than 500 phishing attacks per month.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) say shortfalls in employee awareness and training are their top concern for protecting workers against social engineering and phishing threats.

There's a summary of the findings in the infographic below.

phishing risks infographic

Image Credit: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock

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