Phishing attacks have increased by 450% in the last 12 months as attackers use search engine optimization techniques to improve the ranking of malware files in popular search engines, according to research. Netzkope.
A recent report on the company’s clouds and threats found that some attackers are becoming more proficient in SEO, which speeds up the use of search engines to deliver malware.
Most of the malware downloaded during the 12-month period was downloaded from the same region as the victim, reflecting the rise in sophistication and targeted nature of the malware attacks, the report said.
Attackers use a combination of cloud applications and traditional websites to target their victims, with the former accounting for 47% of malware downloads and the latter for 53%.
Meanwhile, although EXE and DLL files account for almost half of all malware downloads, Microsoft Office malware has dropped to pre-Emotet levels thanks in large part to the industry’s efforts to introduce active alerts and security controls.
“Malware is no longer limited to traditional risky web categories. It is now lurking everywhere, from cloud applications to search engines, leaving organizations at greater risk than ever before, ”said Netskope’s Director of Threat Research Ray Kanzanese.
“In order not to fall victim to these social engineering techniques and targeted attacks, security executives need to regularly review their malware protection strategy and make sure all possible entry points are taken into account.”