Spear Phishing Becomes Most Common Attack Technique in Q3 2023

Library_SpearPhishingSpear phishing was the most common attack technique in the third quarter of 2023, according to researchers at ReliaQuest.

“In Q2 2023, spear phishing-related techniques represented the three most observed methods of attack,” the researchers write. “This remained true in Q3 2023, accounting for a total of almost 65% of all true-positive incidents. This trend will almost certainly continue.”

Spear phishing links were involved in 24.5% of attacks, while internal spear phishing accounted for 23.7% of attacks. Spear phishing with attachments accounted for 16.5% of attacks.

“Another highly observed technique during Q2 2023 was User Execution: Malicious File (T1204.002), indicating that adversary-controlled malware ran on a local or remote system,” the researchers write. “Attempts to distribute malware are common in various attack types, but frequently follow spear phishing.”

ReliaQuests outlines the following measures to help defend against spear phishing attacks:

  • “Correctly configure email gateways to quarantine suspicious emails."
  • “Keep security-awareness programs up to date with the latest phishing and social engineering techniques."
  • “Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) in the event that employees’ credentials are compromised."
  • “Block inbound emails that have file extensions typically used for malware delivery (e.g., those on executable files, such as .exe and .msi)."
  • “Configure a Group Policy Object (GPO) to change the default execution engine of JavaScript files from WScript to Notepad and any additional script files you see fit. This will prevent these files from being executed on the host. "
  • “Implement USB access control and GPOs to prevent autorun command executions. Consider disabling any removable media access if business conditions allow.”

New-school security awareness training can give your organization an essential layer of defense against social engineering attacks.

KnowBe4 enables your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

ReliaQuest has the story.

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