Email security

Zscaler report: Phishing attacks surged by 47.2% last year

The latest phishing report from Zscaler ThreatLabz shows a 47.2% surge in phishing attacks in 2022 compared to the previous year, driven by cybercriminals using increasingly sophisticated techniques to launch large-scale attacks.

Education was the most targeted industry in 2022, with attacks increasing by 576%, while the retail and wholesale sector dropped by 67% from 2021. 

Deepen Desai, Zscaler’s global CISO and head of security research, speaks to Security Weekly co-host Bill Brenner about key findings. He reports that:

  • Ransomware’s impact is most acute in the United States, the target for nearly half of ransomware campaigns over the last year.
  • Organizations in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry experienced the largest surge in ransomware attacks, with a growth rate over 430%.
  • The manufacturing sector remains the most targeted industry vertical, accounting for nearly 15% of total ransomware attacks. It is followed by the services sector, which experienced approximately 12% of the total quantity of ransomware attacks last year.
  • 25 new ransomware families were identified as using double extortion or encryption-less extortion attacks this year.

“Ransomware-as-a-Service has contributed to a steady rise in sophisticated ransomware attacks,” Desai says. “Ransomware authors are increasingly staying under the radar by launching encryption-less attacks which involve large volumes of data exfiltration.”

To counter this trend, Desai says organizations must move away from using legacy point products and, instead, migrate to a fully integrated zero trust platform that minimizes their attack surface, prevents compromise, reduces the blast radius in the event of a successful attack and prevents data exfiltration.

This segment is sponsored by Zscaler. Visit to learn more about them!

The full interview is above. Notable points along the way:

00:00 - Zscaler's Deepen Desai discusses ransomware threat landscape

01:42 - Global ransomware attacks rise 38% in 2018

02:59 - Ransomware attacks start with phishing, gain access, steal data

04:05 - Defending against multi-stage ransomware attacks with zero-trust architecture

06:05 - Global targeted attacks: United States, Europe, India

07:07 - Best practices for protecting against multi-stage attacks

08:13 - Cloud native Zscaler security for remote users

Bill Brenner

InfoSec content strategist, researcher, director, tech writer, blogger and community builder. Senior Vice President of Audience Content Strategy at CyberRisk Alliance.

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