Rising threats: Hornetsecurity's latest report reveals a 144% surge in malicious web links

Rising threats: Hornetsecurity's latest report reveals a 144% surge in malicious web links - Zest Logic

A surge in cyber threats involving malicious web links has been identified in a recent cybersecurity report by Hornetsecurity. Analyzing 45 billion emails over the past year, the report sheds light on evolving cybercriminal tactics, emphasizing the threat posed by harmful URLs and persistent phishing attacks. This analysis, conducted by Hornetsecurity's Security Lab, reviewed emails processed through Hornetsecurity's services from November 1, 2022, to November 1, 2023, providing a comprehensive overview of the evolving cyber threat landscape.

Hornetsecurity's Cyber Security Report 2024 reveals a staggering 144% increase in emails containing harmful web links compared to the previous year. This surge indicates a shift in tactics by threat actors, with such links constituting 30.5% of all threats, up from 12.5% in the prior year.

While the rise in malicious web links is significant, phishing remains the most prevalent email attack technique, experiencing a nearly 4% year-on-year increase—from 39.6% to 43.3%. The adaptability of hackers is evident as they continually alter email formats and attachments to navigate around spam filters.

The report highlights a notable decline in the use of DOCX and XLSX files, attributed to Microsoft's default disabling of macros in Office. Cybercriminals have shifted towards HTML files (37.1%), PDFs (23.3%), and Archive files (20.8%). The surge in HTML files alone is noteworthy, increasing by 76.6% in the past year.

Hackers frequently exploit brand impersonation, with DHL, Amazon, and FedEx being top targets, constituting 26.1%, 7.7%, and 2.3% of impersonations, respectively. Other brands such as LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Netflix also feature in the top 10 impersonated entities.

The study indicates that cyber threats are widespread across industries. While no sector is immune, the research industry, entertainment companies, and the manufacturing sector face heightened risks. Intellectual property in research, financial transactions in entertainment, and vulnerabilities in IoT devices in manufacturing make these industries attractive targets.

Hornetsecurity CEO Daniel Hofmann emphasizes the need for organizations to adopt a zero-trust mindset and comprehensive security services. The report underscores the adaptability of cybercriminals and the imperative for businesses to prioritize cybersecurity, ensuring basic security hygiene, employee training, and robust investment in quality security measures.

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