Phishing attacks surge during the pandemic


In yet another example of cybercriminals exploiting world events, the frequency of phishing threats has risen considerably since the start of the pandemic, with companies experiencing an average of 1,185 attacks every month.

New research from GreatHorn reveals that more than half (53 percent) of over 300 IT professionals surveyed by Cybersecurity Insiders say they had witnessed an increase in phishing activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also shows that 38 percent of respondents report that a co-worker has fallen victim to an attack within the last year. As a result, 15 percent of organizations are now left spending anywhere from one to four days remediating malicious attacks during what is already a difficult time for many.

On a positive note, 64 percent of employees say they feel confident in their ability to identify and avoid a phishing email in real time. But while 76 percent of organizations conduct cybersecurity awareness training, only 30 percent train employees quarterly -- and 27 percent conduct training only once a year. This is likely to be inadequate, especially when employees both young and old are similarly vulnerable -- 62 percent of respondents believe that employees of all ages and generations are of equal likelihood of falling victim to a phishing attack.

When asked to select who would most likely be targeted in phishing attacks, 56 percent say it'd be a mid-level manager, followed closely by entry-level staffer at 51 percent and the CEO or head of the company at 49 percent, dispelling the myth that senior executives are the prime targets of attacks.

"This survey uncovered just how many phishing emails organizations are being targeted by," says GreatHorn CEO and co-founder, Kevin O’Brien. "With such a substantial portion of these attacks yielding success, the time lost on remediation can have a detrimental impact on productivity and profitability. Right now, it's more important than ever that companies provide their employees with the knowledge and tools necessary to recognize and fend off phishing attacks."

The full 2020 Phishing Attack Landscape Report is available from the GreatHorn site.

Image Credit: wk1003mike / Shutterstock

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