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Keepnet Labs report unveils most vulnerable sectors and departments to phishing attacks

The most vulnerable sectors and departments to phishing attacks
The most vulnerable sectors and departments to phishing attacks

Phishing attacks cause great harm to the business world due to their evolving nature and it is expected that phishing attacks will cost businesses 6 trillion dollars worldwide next year. Keepnet Labs reveals its latest research on the most vulnerable sectors and internal departments affected by phishing attacks.

Number of phishing attacks and data leaks increase each day

While cyber attackers chase down system vulnerabilities and valuable data each passing day, the business world has taken the measures against them. The latest trends and cybersecurity statistics reveal that data from various sources, especially mobile and IoT devices, is targeted and attacked. Organizations face the risk of data loss due to unprotected data and weak cyber security practices.

In the first half of last year, $4.1 billion of data records were exposed, while the average time needed to detect a leak was 206 days. While the average loss caused by a data leak is estimated at $3.92 million for businesses, cyberattacks will create $6 trillion in losses globally in the next year.

Accordingly, 90% of successful cyber attacks occur through email-based attacks
Accordingly, 90% of successful cyber attacks occur through email-based attacks

Keepnet Labs, a UK-based cyber security awareness and anti phishing company has revealed the most vulnerable departments and sectors against phishing attacks. The Keepnet Labs 2020 Phishing Trends Report was generated by a data set of 410 thousand phishing emails, covering a period of one year.

Accordingly, 90% of successful cyber attacks occur through email-based attacks. These cyberattacks use deceptive and fraudulent social engineering techniques, especially to bypass various security mechanisms/controls.

1 out of 8 people share the information requested by attackers

According to the report, which identifies the sectors and departments that are most vulnerable to phishing attacks:

  • 1 out of 2 employees opens and reads phishing emails.
  • 1 out of 3 employees clicks links or opens file attachments in phishing emails (which may cause silent installation of malware / ransomware).
  • 1 out of every 8 employees shares the information requested in phishing emails.

Moreover, the sectors and departments most vulnerable to cyber attacks are identified in the report.

Sectors most vulnerable to cyber attacks

Top 5 sectors with the highest click rates on malicious links in phishing emails:

  • Consulting (63%)
  • Clothing and Accessories (48%)
  • Education (47%)
  • Technology (40%)
  • Holdings / Conglomerates (32.37%)

Sectors with the highest rates of data sharing:

  • Clothing and Accessories (43%)
  • Consulting (30%)
  • Securities and Stock Exchange (23%)
  • Education (22%)

Corporate departments most affected by cyber attacks

The top three departments with the highest rates of clicking fake links in phishing emails:

  • Law / Audit / Internal Control (59%)
  • Procurement / Administrative Affairs (58%)
  • Quality Management / Health (56%)

While the findings reveal that these departments have not changed according to last year’s statistics, the report concludes that most of the sensitive information needed by cybercriminals is accessible via users working in these vulnerable units. This in turn poses a serious threat to their respective organizations, because employees with such privileged access to this prized information are the key people in those organisations who motivate the hackers to infiltrate organizations and execute their intended, malicious campaigns.

These statistics reveal that certain departments are more inclined to share sensitive information compared to others
These statistics reveal that certain departments are more inclined to share sensitive information compared to others

The top three departments with the highest rates of sharing data:

  • Quality Management / Health (27%)
  • Procurement / Administrative Affairs (26%)
  • Legal / Audit / Internal Control (25%)

These statistics reveal that certain departments are more inclined to share sensitive information compared to others, and considering their position, they should be much more careful against cyber attacks.

The Keepnet Labs 2020 Phishing Trends Report guides organizations in their cyber security and awareness efforts by identifying the most vulnerable departments and sectors.

You can download the full report here.