Study: Companies are the target of an average of 700 social engineering attacks per year

Study: Companies are the target of an average of 700 social engineering attacks per year

Most of the attacks target employees outside the management level. The attackers are happy to pretend to be a well-known brand. The name “Microsoft” is particularly often misused.

A new study by cybersecurity firm Barracuda found that IT staff and CEOs face a flurry of phishing attacks year-round. Average businesses are affected by more than 700 social engineering attacks each year.

The study analyzed more than 12 million spear phishing and social engineering attacks that affected more than 3 million mailboxes in over 17,000 companies between May 2020 and June 2021. Nearly 80 percent of attacks were targeted at non-financial and executive employees, with the average CEO receiving 57 targeted phishing attacks each year and IT staff receiving an average of 40 targeted phishing attacks each year.

Cryptocurrency-related attacks increased 192 percent between October 2020 and April 2021, with the researchers finding that the number of attacks rose in line with the general price of various cryptocurrencies. The so-called phishing impersonation attacks, in which the attackers pretend to be another company, accounted for 50 percent. The brands of Microsoft, WeTransfer and DHL, with the Microsoft brand accounting for 43 percent of all phishing attacks in the past few months.

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