Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 10:47

Cybercriminals increase sophistication of ‘impersonation’ attacks Featured


Cyber-criminals are using increasingly sophisticated impersonation attacks on Australian businesses, according to a new survey which found that 54% of Australian Infosec professionals faced phishing-triggered ransomware infections in 2019 — more than any of the other six countries surveyed, including the US, UK, Japan, Germany, France and Spain.

The latest State of the Phish report from security firm Proofpoint examined global data from nearly 50 million simulated phishing attacks sent by Proofpoint customers over a one-year period - along with third-party survey responses from more than 600 information security professionals in Australia, the US, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK.

“Australian organisations must take an active approach to cybersecurity education. Criminals are constantly refining their attack methods, using sophisticated emails lures, phone calls, and SMS to snare as many victims as possible,” said Crispin Kerr, Australian and New Zealand Country Manager for Proofpoint.

“Attackers do their homework, and their messages often seem personally relevant to recipients. Regular company-wide training is crucial to make sure staff can spot the warning signs and keep themselves and their organisation safe.”

Additional key Australian findings include:

  • The research also uncovered that 63% of Australian companies provide company-wide cybersecurity training—highlighting the opportunity for increased user training to help combat cyberattacks in 2020.
  • Cybercriminals are also using increasingly sophisticated methods to lure victims. 52% of Australian organisations experienced vishing, which sees criminals impersonating legitimate sources via phone calls, while 58% experienced smishing, which uses SMS as a channel to attack users.
  • The report also showed more than half (56%) of Australian organisations report that rate of phishing attacks observed either decreased or stayed the same in comparison to the previous 12 months, reflecting the new tendency of criminals to forgo high-volume attacks in favour of more targeted methods.
  • Despite 79% of Australian organisations reporting a reduction in phishing susceptibility after the delivery of cybersecurity training, just over half (53 per cent) conduct active cybersecurity training by way of simulated phishing attacks — one of the most effective way of educating staff.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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