New analysis of attacks in 2021 show massive increases across the board, painting a very concerning picture for this year around cyberattacks of all types.

Mid-year reports of cyberthreats are informative but are temporal in nature, and still require that organizations take a look at longer data trends to understand where to place their focus, efforts, and budget. New data from security vendor PhishLabs in their Quarterly Threat Trends & Intelligence Report, covering all of 2021 provides a better sense of what 2021’s state of cyberattacks looked like, and unveils that the increases in efforts by cybercriminals that we saw throughout the year looks like they’re here to stay for the time-being.

According to the report:

  • Phishing attacks grew 28%
  • Social Media-based threats grew by 103%
  • Attacks with malware nearly tripled
  • Vishing attacks (like the Amazon attack I’ve covered previously) that begin with a phishing email jumped 554%
  • 52% of phishing attacks focused on credential theft
  • 38% of phishing attacks are response-based (e.g., job scams, tech support, BEC)
  • Only 10% focused on malware delivery

The overarching theme here is email is the delivery mechanism of choice – because it works. So, it’s imperative that organizations put layered security measures in place to specifically stop email-based attacks – keeping in mind that with only 10% of attacks focused on malware delivery (and a portion of those using malicious links instead of attachments), some percentage of malicious phishing emails will make their way to the user’s Inbox. This means the user must also participate in your organization’s security strategy, interacting with emails with a sense of vigilance and scrutiny should an email seem unexpected, suspicious, out of the norm, etc. This can be taught, via Security Awareness Training, where users see themselves as a part of the organization’s layered security, helping to stop attacks before they do damage.