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Netskope Research Finds Majority of Malware Now Delivered via Cloud Apps

Netskope Research Finds Majority of Malware Now Delivered via Cloud Apps

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Feb 24, 2021 – Netskope, the leading security cloud, today revealed new research showing that the majority of all malware is now delivered via cloud applications, underscoring how attackers increasingly abuse popular cloud services to evade legacy security defenses putting enterprise data increasingly at risk. 

The findings are part of the February 2021 Netskope Cloud and Threat Report, which analyzes the most interesting trends on enterprise cloud service and app use, web and cloud-enabled threats, and cloud data migrations and transfers. 

“Cybercriminals increasingly abuse the most trusted and popular cloud apps, especially for cloud phishing and cloud malware delivery,” said Ray Canzanese, Threat Research Director at Netskope. “Enterprises using the cloud need to quickly modernize and extend their security architectures to understand data content and context for apps, cloud services, and web user activity.”

Key Findings

Based on anonymized data collected from the Netskope Security Cloud platform across millions of users from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, key findings of the report include: 

Cloud use on the rise. In 2020, the number of cloud apps in use per organization increased 20%. Organizations with 500 — 2,000 employees now use on average 664 distinct cloud apps per month. Of those apps, nearly half have a “Poor” Cloud Confidence IndexTM (CCI), a measure pioneered by Netskope to determine a cloud service’s enterprise readiness. 

Malware delivery continues to shift into the cloud, with 61% of all malware delivered via a cloud app, up from 48% year-over-year. 

Popularity of cloud apps in the enterprise makes them a target for phishing attacks. Cloud apps are now the target of one in three (36%) phishing campaigns. While the majority of phishing lures are still hosted on traditional websites, attackers are increasingly using cloud apps to gain footholds in organizations.

The volume of malicious Microsoft Office documents increased by 58%, as attackers are increasingly using malicious Office documents as Trojans to deliver next stage payloads, including ransomware and backdoors. Using cloud app delivery to evade legacy email and web defenses, malicious Office documents represent 27% of all malware downloads detected and blocked by the Netskope Security Cloud. 

Sensitive data in personal apps continues to grow. As work and home life continue to blend in the remote workforce, personal app instances in the enterprise increase, with 83% of users accessing personal app instances on corporate devices. The average enterprise user uploads 20 files to personal apps each month from these managed devices. Personal app usage in the enterprise greatly increases the likelihood of data being mishandled or leaked.

The Netskope Cloud and Threat Report is produced by Netskope Threat Labs, a team composed of the industry’s foremost cloud threat and malware researchers who discover and analyze the latest cloud threats affecting enterprises.

Get the full report here.

About Netskope

The Netskope security cloud provides unrivaled visibility and real-time data and threat protection when accessing cloud services, websites, and private apps from anywhere, on any device. Only Netskope understands the cloud and delivers data-centric security from one of the world’s largest and fastest security networks, empowering the largest organizations in the world with the right balance of protection and speed they need to enable business velocity and secure their digital transformation journey. Reimagine your perimeter with Netskope.

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