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Proofpoint’s annual report: How 2020 transformed today’s threat landscape

Proofpoint’s annual report: How 2020 transformed today’s threat landscape

Enterprise SecurityIntelligent TechnologyResearchTop Stories
With 2019’s headlines of ransomware, malware, and RDP attacks almost behind us, we shift our focus to the cybercrime threats ahead

Cybersecurity and compliance company, Proofpoint Inc, has unveiled its annual Human Factor Report, which provides a comprehensive examination of the three main facets of user risk—vulnerability, attacks and privilege—and how the extraordinary events of 2020 transformed the current threat landscape. Human Factor 2021 draws on data and insight from a year’s worth of research, covering threats detected, mitigated and resolved across one of the largest datasets in cybersecurity.

“Attackers don’t hack in, they log in and people continue to be the most critical factor in today’s cyber attacks. The threat ecosystem has evolved over the past year and this report explores how a people-centric approach to cybersecurity can reduce today’s risks,” said Ryan Kalember, EVP, Cybersecurity Strategy, Proofpoint. “In addition to troubling growth in volume and sophistication of ransomware and business email compromise (BEC) attacks, we discovered massive spikes in lesser-known methods like CAPTCHA techniques and steganography, which proved surprisingly effective.”

According to Proofpoint, it analyses more than 2.2 billion email messages, 35 billion URLs, 200 million attachments, and 35 million cloud accounts. “This report draws on analysis of that data throughout 2020 by our team of expert threat researchers and reveals risks and vulnerabilities that persist today,” Kalember said. “Ransomware was omnipresent, with more than 48 million messages containing malware capable of being used as an entry point for ransomware attacks. Email remains a crucial part of these attacks, serving as the route through which much of the first-stage malware used to download ransomware is distributed.”

Emile Abou Saleh, Regional Director, Middle East and Africa, Proofpoint, added: “In the Middle East, our recent research revealed that CISOs in the UAE and KSA have seen an increase in targeted attacks in the past year of 76% and 69% respectively. As cyber criminals continue to exploit vulnerabilities created by remote working, the shift to e-commerce and cloud, and the acceleration of Digital Transformation across all sectors, it is more important than ever for companies in the region to employ a people-centric approach to their cybersecurity practices.”

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