In 2016, phishing not only continued to grow as a cyberthreat, but was deployed more strategically to maximize profit for cybercriminals.
According to the 2017 Phishing Trends & Intelligence Report from PhishLabs R.A.I.D. (Research, Analysis, and Intelligence Division), cloud storage nearly surpassed financial institutions as the most phished industry of the year. This reflects a significant change in how phishers profit and there are serious implications across all industries—indeed, any organization that relies on email addresses and passwords to authenticate users should take note. Phishers increasingly target sites with massive user bases, like cloud storage providers, in order to harvest email address/password pairs because, given the high rate of email and password reuse, most of these stolen credentials provide access to multiple accounts across the internet, exponentially increasing the potential yield of any attack.
PhishLabs also noted that ransomware attacks, the predominant type of malware distributed via phishing, are now focusing on organizations that are more likely to pay ransoms, such as healthcare, government, critical infrastructure, education and small businesses.