Phishing attacks grow 31.5% over 2020, social media attacks continue to climb

Phishing remains the dominant attack vector for bad actors, growing 31.5 percent over 2020, according to a PhishLabs report. Notably, attacks in September 2021 were more than twice as high as the previous year.

phishing attacks grow 2020

“While we saw a drop early this summer in phishing volume, threat actors didn’t take the whole summer off. Attacks have been on the rise since July and surged in September. If these trends continue, many IT security teams will find themselves dealing with a deluge of threats over the holidays,” says John LaCour, CTO of PhishLabs.

Alarming jump in phishing and social media attacks

  • Social media attacks skyrocket in 2021: Since January, the average number of social media attacks per target climbed steadily, up 82 percent year-to-date.
  • Vishing is increasing: Vishing incidents more than doubled in number for the second consecutive quarter, suggesting a shift in tactics as threat actors seek to evade email security controls.
  • O365 users beware: In Q3, 51.6 percent of credential theft phishing attacks reported by corporate users targeted O365 logins.
  • PII grows on the dark web, leveraging chat services: The sale of Personally Identifiable Information accounted for 12 percent of dark web threats and was primarily made up of threat actors marketing employee email addresses to black market buyers. In 56 percent of PII sales, chat-based services were used to market the data.

“The continued climb in social media threats makes it imperative that businesses prioritize visibility across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. As seasonal hiring ramps up for the holidays, the staffing industry in particular needs to be prepared to deal with online impersonation and other scams,” says LaCour.

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