Proofpoint researchers have released a study debunking several misconceptions about threat actors' social engineering tactics, TechRepublic reports. Contrary to the belief that malicious links are being aimlessly sent to numerous victims, attackers have been spending time establishing rapport with potential victims through questions sent through email or conversations prior to conducting attacks. Threat actors have also been impersonating Microsoft, Google, and other legitimate services in their attacks, most of whom have been exploiting Google-related URLs. Malicious actors have also moved to call center-based email attacks by leveraging remote assistance software or a malware-laced document, dispelling the common notion that only computers are used for email-based threats, according to the study. Other debunked assumptions include cybercriminals' lacking awareness of email conversations and threads, as well as their sole use of business-related content. Researchers noted that attackers have been increasingly exploiting email threads, as well as social issues to facilitate ransomware spread.