KnowBe4: 2021 Phishing Trends Face Alarming Predictions and Will Likely Include Automated Attacks

Posted on02/05/2021

Researchers at INKY warn that targeted phishing attacks will continue throughout 2021, as some employees return to the office and others continue working from home. They predict that spear phishing attacks will begin to grow more automated, allowing more attackers to launch these attacks.

The researchers expect to see the following five trends for the rest of the year:

  1. Additional government impersonators will be trying to gather personal information or illicit money through sophisticated phishing scams.

  2. Cloud breaches will be on the rise as companies continue to offer remote working options to their employees.

  3. Targeted data theft will climb due to the fact that thousands of businesses have not done enough to properly secure their sensitive information from hackers and cybercriminals.

  4. Ransomware attacks could escalate as they did in 2020, a year that saw $29.1 million in damages. Using email phishing campaigns, cybercriminals have compromised email accounts using precursor malware, which enables the hacker to then use a victim’s email account to further spread the infection.

  5. Spear phishing campaigns - which impersonate a CEO, vendor, or other known person – will likely see more sophistication and even automation. This will drive the number of incidents, the complexity, and the likelihood that an employee will fall for this costly phishing threat.

The researchers conclude that organizations shouldn’t grow complacent as employees begin returning to the office.

“Much like health officials are urging us not to let our guard down for the pandemic this year, it’s also clear that we must be diligent in our efforts to protect our businesses from the cybercriminals’ phishing scams,” INKY says. “Nothing could be sadder than to see your organization through a pandemic, only to have it brought down by a sophisticated phishing event.”

New-school security awareness training with simulated phishing tests can familiarize your employees with these types of attacks so they can thwart them in the real world.

KnowBe4 is the world’s most largest and popular integrated Security Awareness Training combined with Simulated Phishing attack platform, utilizing social engineering methods and strategies to conduct training. Founded in 2010, a US company located in Tama Bay, Florida with over 19,000 customers base across different sectors globally. Managing by CEO & employees of ex-antivirus experts and IT security Pros. KnowBe4 has been a winner of two consecutive Inc. 500 awards.

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