Sophos Survey: Phishing Attacks Rose During the Pandemic

A survey by Sophos, “Phishing Insights 2021” has revealed that phishing attacks targeting organisations have gone up during the pandemic along with other findings.

Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, announced the findings of its global survey, “Phishing Insights 2021,” which reveals that phishing attacks targeting organizations ramped up considerably during the pandemic, as millions of employees working from  home became a prime target for cybercriminals. The majority (65%) of IT teams in South Africa said the number of phishing emails targeting their employees increased during 2020.

“Phishing has been around for over 25 years and remains an effective cyberattack technique. One of the reasons for its success is its ability to continuously evolve and diversify, tailoring attacks to topical issues or concerns, such as the pandemic, and playing on human emotions and trust.It can be tempting for organizations to see phishing attacks as a relatively low-level threat, but that underestimates their power. Phishing is often the first step in a complex, multi-stage attack. According to Sophos Rapid Response, attackers frequently use phishing emails to trick users into installing malware or sharing credentials that provide access to the corporate network.”

Chester Wisniewski, Principal Research Scientist, Sophos

The findings also reveal that there is a lack of common understanding about the definition of phishing.  For instance, 66% of IT teams in South Africa associate phishing with emails that falsely claim to be from a legitimate organization, and which are usually combined with a threat or request for information. Forty-nine percent consider Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks to be phishing, and more than one-third (36%) think threadjacking – when attackers insert themselves into a legitimate email thread as part of an attack – is phishing.

The good news is that most organizations in South Africa (96%) have implemented cybersecurity awareness programs to combat phishing. Respondents said they use computer-based training programs (66%), human-led training programs (59%), and phishing simulations (47%).

“The ideal would be to prevent phishing emails from ever reaching their intended recipient. Effective email security solutions can go a long way towards achieving this, but this should be complemented by alert and primed employees who are able to spot and report suspicious messages before they get any further.”

Chester Wisniewski, Principal Research Scientist, Sophos

More News

Never miss an update

Join 37,000 subscribers: Signup to our weekly newsletter and never miss an update:

GLAD THAT YOU ARE HERE!

Get the latest industry news delivered directly to your inbox!

Signup to get the latest news from the Media, Technology and Telecoms industry for Africa and the Middle East.

No thanks, just take me to the website.

SIGN UP NOW

Get the latest industry news delivered directly to your inbox!

Signup to get the latest news from the Media, Technology and Telecoms industry for Africa and the Middle East.

4438