Report highlights threats of brand impersonation and ransomware leaks

Cybercrime remains one of the biggest threats worldwide, according to a new report from email cloud security and backup provider Hornetsecurity.

The Cyber Threat Report Edition 2021/2022 details the latest insights and data on the current threat situation with a focus on email communication. The report examines the development of spam and advanced threats, shows which industries are most under threat, and identifies the most frequently used cyberattack methods. It also reviews the most crucial cybercrime-related events of the past year.


40% of all incoming emails pose a potential threat


As the primary means of communication for business, email is one of the main gateways for cybercrime and remains a prime attack vector. Threat researchers at the Hornetsecurity Security Lab found that 40% of all inbound emails out of the total email traffic during the research period posed a potential threat. This includes spam, phishing emails, and advanced threats such as CEO fraud and any type of malware.


Phishing, malicious links, and ransomware are among the most popular attack tactics used by hackers. "Brand impersonation" is especially popular. For this, cybercriminals copy a company‘s corporate design and mimic the sender address in such a way that it can hardly be distinguished from the original, genuine email address. The main aim is to obtain the user's access data or to spread malware via hidden links. At 16.5%, Deutsche Post and DHL are among the top five most frequently imitated brands.


Ransom leaks: trend takes on greater dimensions


Still in its early days just about two years ago, ransom leaks are now widely known. These attacks are an extension of ransomware campaigns: In ransom leak attacks, sensitive data is first copied and then encrypted. If the targeted victim refuses to pay ransom for decryption, the cybercriminals threaten to publish the copied data on their so-called leak websites.


Around 140 files have been published on REvil’s ransomware leak website so far, with new ones being added almost daily. Despite this large volume, the hacker group is only in 5th place among the leak websites with the most published data from ransomware victims.


In addition to these and other insights about the current state of global cybercrime, the Cyber Threat Report Edition 2021/2022 also provides an outlook on further possible developments.

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