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As cybercriminals step up social engineering attacks against employees at small businesses, organizations of all sizes need to be prepared for spear-phishing attacks.

Between January 2021 and December 2021, Barracuda researchers analyzed millions of spear-phishing and social engineering attacks impacting mailboxes at thousands of organizations. They share the findings from their analysis in the new report Spear-Phishing: Top Threats and Trends Vol. 7 – Key Findings on the Latest Social Engineering Tactics and the Growing Complexity of Attacks. This in-depth report takes a look at the current trends in spear-phishing, which businesses are most likely to be targeted, the new tricks attackers are using to sneak past victims’ defenses, and the number of accounts that are being compromised successfully.

An in-depth look at key findings

Barracuda’s research reveals key takeaways about how these attacks are evolving and how cybercriminals targeting smaller businesses, hoping it will give them a better chance at successfully compromising accounts and wreaking further havoc. Here are some of the key findings from their analysis:

  • An average employee of a small business with less than 100 employees will experience 350% more social engineering attacks than an employee of a larger enterprise.
  • Conversation hijacking grew almost 270% in 2021.
  • 51% of social engineering attacks are phishing.
  • Microsoft is the most impersonated brand, used in 57% of phishing attacks.
  • 1 in 5 organizations had an account compromised in 2021.
  • Cybercriminals compromised approximately 500,000 Microsoft 365 accounts in 2021.
  • 1 in 3 malicious logins into compromised accounts came from Nigeria.
  • Cybercriminals sent out 3 million messages from 12,000 compromised accounts.

Get your free copy of Spear-Phishing: Top Threats and Trends Vol. 7 – Key Findings on the Latest Social Engineering Tactics and the Growing Complexity of Attacks now to see all the latest details, fresh insights on the current attack trends, and the best practices to help protect your business from spear-phishing attacks.

Get your free copy right now


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Posted by Anne Campbell

Anne Campbell is the public relations manager for Barracuda. She's been with the organization since 2014, working on content and public relations for Barracuda MSP, the MSP-dedicated business unit of Barracuda. She started her career in newspaper and magazine journalism, and she brings that editorial point of view the work she does, using it to help craft compelling stories.

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