Egress’ 2021 Insider Data Breach Survey has revealed that almost three-quarters (73%) of organisations have suffered data breaches caused by phishing attacks in the last year. Remote work has increased the risk, with over half (53%) of IT leaders reporting an increase in incidents caused by phishing. The research also revealed concerns over future hybrid working, with 50% of IT leaders saying it will make it harder to prevent breaches caused by malicious email attacks.
The survey highlights the human cost of phishing – it found that in almost a quarter (23%) of organisations, employees who were hacked via a phishing email were fired or left voluntarily.
The survey, independently conducted by Arlington Research on behalf of Egress, surveyed 500 IT leaders and 3,000 employees in the US and UK across vertical sectors including financial services, healthcare and legal.
Key insights include:
- 73% of organisations have experienced a serious data breach caused by phishing in the last year
- Over half (53%) of IT leaders say that remote working during the pandemic increased data breaches caused by phishing
- Half (50%) of IT leaders think that full-time remote or hybrid working will make it more difficult to prevent data breaches caused by phishing in the future
- In 23% of organisations, employees who were hacked via a phishing email were fired or left voluntarily
A pandemic of phishing
In addition to the sheer volume of phishing attacks that organisations withstood during the pandemic, remote work made it more difficult to stop data breaches caused by malicious emails. Over half (53%) of IT leaders say that remote working drove an increase in data breaches caused by phishing in the last year, and half (50%) also believe that remote/hybrid working will make it harder to prevent data breaches caused by phishing in the future.
Egress VP of Threat Intelligence Jack Chapman comments: “Organisations are being bombarded by sophisticated phishing attacks. Hackers are crafting highly targeted campaigns that use clever social engineering tricks to gain access to organisations’ most sensitive data, as well as leapfrog into their supply chain. Phishing is also the most common entry point for ransomware, with potentially devastating consequences.
“Remote working has also made employees even more vulnerable. With many organisations planning for a remote or hybrid future, phishing is a risk that must remain central to any security team’s plans for securing their workforce.”