Industry Insights with Grayson Milbourne

Threat Report Reveals Hope Despite Active Threat Landscape

Using a Layered Protection Strategy Is the Best Defense Against Cybercrime

Companies have rapidly adopted digital strategies to fuel growth and profitability, yet many of these changes have inadvertently accelerated the risk of cyberattacks. As evidenced by the recently released 2023 OpenText Cybersecurity Threat Report, cybercriminals are taking advantage of these gaps.

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Report findings confirm organized cybercrime groups are doubling down on long-standing tactics and using deepfakes, artificial intelligence and social engineering to evade defenses.

Phishing Attacks Are Getting Smarter

Phishing remains the No. 1 delivery mechanism for ransomware, and attackers are refining their techniques. With email, text and call centers remaining the primary methods to execute phishing, more attacks weaponize legitimate and trusted services.

Over 1.14 billion spear-phishing emails were prevented last year, a 16.4% year-over-year increase.

Phishing Is Also Dominating the Web

The total number of URLs used for phishing increased by 29.6% between 2021 and 2022. In 2022, three-quarters of new high-risk URLs - URLs that host sites confirmed to be malware, phishing or exploit sites - were used for phishing.

Another emerging trend is the use of HTTPS sites for phishing, which grew 55.5% year-over-year from 2021 to 2022. HTTPS sites now account for nearly 50% of all phishing sites.

Ransomware Is Adapting and Winning

Law enforcement secured several major successes in the ongoing international fight against ransomware gangs. Despite these victories, ransomware remains the most significant cyberthreat facing small and midsize organizations.

In 2022, the costs of ransomware attacks skyrocketed. By the end of Q4, average ransom payments had increased by almost $100,000 since the end of 2021, hitting an all-time peak of $408,643, according to the report.

All Is Not Bleak

There is some encouraging news within these findings. A decline in malware infections indicates that using a layered protection strategy remains the best defense against today’s cybercrime landscape. Data reveals a 40.3% reduction in the number of devices encountering malware for those using three layers of protection versus a single layer. These findings confirm that building a multilayered approach to defense is core to cybersecurity and cyber resilience.

To learn more about the report findings, stop by the OpenText Cybersecurity booth - #654, South Hall - at RSAC 2023 April 24-27 in San Francisco for a special report rundown presentation.

About the Author

Grayson Milbourne

Grayson Milbourne

Security Intelligence Director, OpenText Cybersecurity, a division of OpenText

Milbourne is focused on efficacy development to ensure that the company's security management products, which include the Webroot portfolio, can defend against the most cutting-edge threats. He represents OpenText Cybersecurity at the Anti-Malware Testing and Standards organization - AMTSO - and speaks at major events such as RSA and Virus Bulletin. Milbourne has nearly two decades of security intelligence expertise in areas including malware analysis, data science and security education.

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