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New report finds 101% spike in email threats

Trend Micro reports that it blocked over 33.6 million cloud email threats in 2021, a 101 per cent increase on the previous year.

user iconReporter
Fri, 24 Jun 2022
New report finds 101% spike in email threats
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Trend Micro's research on the mounting number of cyber risks highlighted that 48 per cent of local organisations don't believe their method of assessing risk exposure is sophisticated enough, underlining the vulnerability of Australia's corporate sector to increasingly insidious email threats.

Email remains a top point of entry for cyber attacks as demonstrated by this massive increase. Many Australian businesses faced spear-phishing, business email compromise (BEC) and email-based ransomware attacks in 2021.

According to Mick McCluney, technical director at Trend Micro, each year, innovation in the threat landscape contributes to the evolution of the corporate attack surface, but email remains a major threat to organisations.

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"The best shot defenders have at mitigating these risks is by taking a platform-based approach to shine a powerful light on threats and deliver streamlined prevention, detection and response without limits," McCluney added.

The Trend Micro data was collected over the course of 2021 from products that supplement native protection in collaboration platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.

Other key findings include:

  • 16.5 million detected and blocked phishing attacks, a 138 per cent increase as the hybrid workforce continued to be targeted;
  • 6.3 million credential phishing attacks, a 15 per cent increase as phishing remains a primary means of compromise; and
  • 3.3 million malicious files detected, including a 134 per cent surge in known threats and a 221 per cent increase in unknown malware.

Ransomware detections, however, has been found to be in decline by 43 per cent year-over-year.

The Trend Micro researchers believe this could be because attacks are becoming more targeted and with improved blocking strategies against ransomware affiliate tools such as Trickbot and BazarLoader.

[Related: Cyber criminals thriving off the DIY ransomware kit business]

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