Report: 93 percent of phishing emails contained ransomware

As cybercriminals pursue methods that yield the most effective near-term gains, phishing emails and ransomware prove an irresistible cocktail for cybercriminals, as a new report demonstrates.
As cybercriminals pursue methods that yield the most effective near-term gains, phishing emails and ransomware prove an irresistible cocktail for cybercriminals, as a new report demonstrates.

As cybercriminals pursue methods that yield the most effective near-term gains, phishing emails and ransomware prove an irresistible cocktail for cybercriminals, as a new report demonstrates. A report conducted by PhishMe found that 93 percent of phishing emails studies in March contained ransomware.

The study found 6.3 million phishing emails in Q1 2016, a volume of phishing emails that increased by 789 percent from the previous three month period.

Another study found that 46 percent of information technology decision makers said their company was “significantly” affected by malware, including phishing, ransomware, DDoS, APT, or other attacks. “The security problem is getting consistently worse, the consequences are getting consistently larger, and the frequency is growing,” PC Pitstop CEO Rob Cheng said in a statement.

ZapFraud CTO/founder Markus Jakobsson told SCMagazine.com that the number of phishing emails has certainly increased, but said the number of successful attacks is largely the result of sophisticated spearphishing attacks. He said targeted attacks “can net millions, instead of thousands,” and he noted that they “can be far more devastating.”

“One of the biggest concerns is the continued automation of targeted attacks,” Jakobsson said. Criminal groups are scraping the web to determine which companies do business with each other, and use that information to generate targeted phishing emails “all without an actual person doing the work.”

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