Companies spend a huge amount of time and billions of dollars on security technology to keep threat actors out — on firewalls, IPS systems, endpoint security, and the like — and employees are letting those bad guys in by clicking on phishing links. In fact, a recent F5 Labs report says phishing was the root cause of 48 percent of the breaches they investigated.
This corroborates my own research, as I have talked to many people that do penetration testing and they told me the number one way to breach a company is by stealing a user’s credentials via phishing. Indeed, one of them showed me how quickly they could do up a mock email from the CEO that entices a user to click and enter user information. Another interesting thing he told me: In about 90 percent of the cases, he can get the credentials in under four hours.
Phishing is a global problem that’s reached near ubiquity
The F5 Labs report also highlights how widespread the use of phishing is by threat actors: A whopping 75.6 percent of the websites taken offline by the F5 SOC were phishing sites. A distant number two, at only 11.3 percent, is malicious scripts, and URL redirects are 5.2 percent. What’s interesting is that the latter two are typically used in conjunction with phishing, so reducing it should lower all top three types of fraud.
Mobile phishing reared its ugly head in this report at 2 percent and is likely to see a rise in the next few years. Anything security professionals can do now to educate workers today will have a bigger payoff in the future.
Phishing is more than mass emails
The report outlines how phishing works, which is important because many non-security individuals I speak to think it’s just mass emails sent out …

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