Endpoint

12/13/2016
09:20 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

91% Of Cyberattacks Start With A Phishing Email

Phishing remains the number one attack vector, according to a new study that analyzes why users fall for these lures.

The majority of cyberattacks begin with a user clicking on a phishing email. Ever wondor why users continue to fall for phishing emails?

According to a new report from PhishMe that found that 91% of cyberattacks start with a phish, the top reasons people are duped by phishing emails are curiosity (13.7%), fear (13.4%), and urgency (13.2%), followed by reward/recognition, social, entertainment, and opportunity.

"Fear and urgency are a normal part of every day work for many users," says Aaron Higbee, co-founder and CTO of PhishMe. "Most employees are conscientious about losing their jobs due to poor performance and are often driven by deadlines, which leads them to be more susceptible to phishing."

Higbee says PhishMe based the study on more than 40 million simulation emails by about 1,000 of its customers around the world. The study took place over an 18-month span from January 2015 through July 2016.

Among the study’s top findings:

  • Susceptibility to phishing email drops almost 20% after a company runs just one failed simulation. So people do learn.
  • Reporting rates significantly outweigh susceptibility rates when simple reporting is deployed to more than 80% of a company’s population, even in the first year.
  • Active reporting of phishing email threats can reduce the standard time for detection of a breach to 1.2 hours on average – a significant improvement over the current industry average of 146 days. This was an important aspect of this report, notes Higbee, who says the study also includes results from more than 300,000 users in organizations that actively use the PhishMe Reporter tool for more than one year.
  • The study also found that users respond to Locky ransomware's phishing lures (21.5%) more than any other malware variant. The others that followed Locky included order confirmation (17%), job application received (15.5%), and blank email (11.9%).

Higbee adds that Locky's phishing campaign has been effective for the following reasons: It is presented in a business context; it’s personalized to the recipient; there are no noticeable errors in grammar or spelling; and finally, it mimics many organizations’ existing invoice processes.

When PhishMe analyzed the Locky data in vertical industries it found that the response rates in the insurance industry were more than one in three (34.7%), while other high response rates occurred in the retail industry at 31.7%; energy, 27.8%; and healthcare at 24.9%.

"We don’t really know why insurance was the leading vertical," Higbee says. "It could be that there’s not enough training or insurance workers tend to interact with many external people so the chance for them to receive a phishing email increases."

Here’s a look at the average response rate by industry when PhishMe analyzed the "file from scanner" benchmark simulation:

 

Transportation      49%

Healthcare             31%

Insurance               30%

Pharma/Biotech     30%

Energy                    24%

Retail                       16%

Consulting               14%

Utilities                    14%

Technology              10%

Non-Profits                 5%

 

Related Content: 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ritu_G
50%
50%
Ritu_G,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/19/2018 | 10:53:16 PM
Re: Great!
This is the exact reason why internet users need to be on their guards at all times. Do not be so naïve and believe everything they see or read on the internet. Prevention is always better than cure and once you have gotten hit, most often than not, there is no turning back. Whatever you read on the internet that is too good to be true, it usually is. Hence, do not fall for anything that may look a little less convincing.
goldhand
50%
50%
goldhand,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/19/2018 | 6:12:16 AM
Great!
I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I'm able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone.

slope
davburnett
0%
100%
davburnett,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2017 | 6:08:27 AM
Re: Hmm Phishy
What's most concerning is the number of CISO's and IT people in a position of responsibility that believe training/human awareness is the answer to protecting against phishing attacks.
Row3n
50%
50%
Row3n,
User Rank: Strategist
12/14/2016 | 10:16:38 PM
Re: Hmm Phishy
You would think that by now that people would have the sense to see these "congratulations you've won a million dollars" emails and know better! I mean, of course hackers are getting more and more sophisticated, but a great number of these crazy spam emails are obvious as heck that that's precisely what they are!
hxrrison
100%
0%
hxrrison,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2016 | 11:24:31 AM
Hmm Phishy
Phishing threat is reduced when phishing drills are run. Funny that a company that does that exact thing would come up with that solution.
WebAuthn, FIDO2 Infuse Browsers, Platforms with Strong Authentication
John Fontana, Standards & Identity Analyst, Yubico,  9/19/2018
Turn the NIST Cybersecurity Framework into Reality: 5 Steps
Mukul Kumar & Anupam Sahai, CISO & VP of Cyber Practice and VP Product Management, Cavirin Systems,  9/20/2018
NSS Labs Files Antitrust Suit Against Symantec, CrowdStrike, ESET, AMTSO
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/19/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-11763
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-25
In Apache HTTP Server 2.4.17 to 2.4.34, by sending continuous, large SETTINGS frames a client can occupy a connection, server thread and CPU time without any connection timeout coming to effect. This affects only HTTP/2 connections. A possible mitigation is to not enable the h2 protocol.
CVE-2018-14634
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-25
An integer overflow flaw was found in the Linux kernel's create_elf_tables() function. An unprivileged local user with access to SUID (or otherwise privileged) binary could use this flaw to escalate their privileges on the system. Kernel versions 2.6.x, 3.10.x and 4.14.x are believed to be vulnerabl...
CVE-2018-1664
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-25
IBM DataPower Gateway 7.1.0.0 - 7.1.0.23, 7.2.0.0 - 7.2.0.21, 7.5.0.0 - 7.5.0.16, 7.5.1.0 - 7.5.1.15, 7.5.2.0 - 7.5.2.15, and 7.6.0.0 - 7.6.0.8 as well as IBM DataPower Gateway CD 7.7.0.0 - 7.7.1.2 echoing of AMP management interface authorization headers exposes login credentials in browser cache. ...
CVE-2018-1669
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-25
IBM DataPower Gateway 7.1.0.0 - 7.1.0.23, 7.2.0.0 - 7.2.0.21, 7.5.0.0 - 7.5.0.16, 7.5.1.0 - 7.5.1.15, 7.5.2.0 - 7.5.2.15, and 7.6.0.0 - 7.6.0.8 as well as IBM DataPower Gateway CD 7.7.0.0 - 7.7.1.2 are vulnerable to a XML External Entity Injection (XXE) attack when processing XML data. A remote atta...
CVE-2018-1539
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-25
IBM Rational Engineering Lifecycle Manager 5.0 through 5.02 and 6.0 through 6.0.6 could allow remote attackers to bypass authentication via a direct request or forced browsing to a page other than URL intended. IBM X-Force ID: 142561.