Cyber attackers move from technical exploits to human exploitation

Published: Friday, 26 February 2016 08:26

Proofpoint, Inc., has released its annual Human Factor cybercrime report. In 2015, attackers significantly shifted their strategy to fool humans into becoming unwitting accomplices in the quest to steal information and money.

Based on customer data, the Proofpoint Human Factor 2016 report details trends across email, social media platforms and mobile applications to reveal attacker trends and recommend how organizations can secure their systems to combat the human factor.

“Attackers moved from technical exploits to human exploitation in 2015,” said Kevin Epstein, vice president of Threat Operations for Proofpoint. “People’s natural curiosity and gullibility is now targeted at an unprecedented scale. Attackers largely did not rely on sophisticated, expensive technical exploits. They ran simple, high-volume campaigns that hinged on social engineering. People were used as unwitting pawns to infect themselves with malware, hand over key credentials, and fraudulently wire money on the attackers’ behalf.”

Key findings from The Human Factor 2016 report include: