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Ransomware attacks focus more on healthcare and government

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February 7, 2017

It appears that the nasty people behind ransomware attacks are increasingly focusing on various organizations that are more likely to pay up, such as healthcare, government, critical infrastructure, education and small businesses.

For example, overall phishing scheme attacks increased by an average of about 33.4 percent across the five most-targeted industries, according to a new report by PhishLabs today.

To be sure, since January 2016, file-encrypting ransomware has become the predominant type of malware distributed via phishing attacks, essentially because that type of cybercrime is both straightforward and very profitable for the miscreants.

Phishing attacks peaked in mid-2016 due to the influence of major global events, such as Brexit, and an increase in virtual web server compromises.

Attacks targeting government tax authorities have grown more than fourfold since 2014. There were more IRS phishing attacks in January 2016 than there were in all of 2015, according to PhishLabs.

Although 59.8 percent of all phishing sites were hosted in the United States, there was a significant increase in the number of phishing sites hosted in Eastern Europe as well.

The overall broad acceptance of email addresses instead of unique usernames is being heavily exploited by cybercriminals to harvest user credentials on a very large scale.

The growing trend is making it relatively easier to run secondary attacks via credential reuse and other hacks.

Additionally, cloud storage sites will likely overtake financial institutions as the top targets of phishing attacks, marking a major evolution in target selection processes.

In light of all of this, there's no question that phishing attacks are still a major issue in the global internet community, and that organizations need to double if not triple their defences when it comes to internet security.

Source: PhishLabs LLC.

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