Malware continues to pose the greatest threat to individuals and businesses across nine key industries, with manufacturing, education and healthcare being the most commonly targeted, security provider Zscaler said in a new report.
Details from Zscaler's Report
Key takeaways from Zscaler's report include:
- More than 85% of attacks now use encrypted channels across various stages of the kill chain, up 20% from last year.
- Nearly 90% of all cyber threats that affect users and organizations come from malware that downloads a malicious payload via a link shared in an email or infected websites.
- The U.S. and India are top targets for encrypted attacks. South Africa, the U.K. and Australia round out the top five.
- Encrypted threats targeting the manufacturing and education industry increased by 239% and 134%, respectively. Conversely, retail saw a 63% and government a 40% decline
Commenting on the report, Deepen Desai, CISO and vice president of Security Research and Operations at Zscaler, said:
“Potential threats continue to hide in encrypted traffic, empowered by as-a-service models that dramatically reduce the technical barriers to doing so. It is critical for organizations to adopt a cloud-native zero trust architecture that allows consistent inspection of all internet bound traffic and effectively mitigate these attacks.”
Here are some additional data:
- Manufacturing saw a 239% increase in these types of attacks, displacing technology as the most targeted type of business in 2022.
- Education remains a notable target for the second year in a row, with a 50% increase in attacks from 2020 to 2021.
- In 2022, attacks against government organizations and retail decreased by 40% and 63%, respectively.
Six Ways to Minimize Risk
Zscaler recommends that businesses adopt the following six practices to minimize the risk of encrypted attacks:
- Use a cloud native, proxy-based architecture to decrypt, detect and prevent threats in all encrypted traffic at scale.
- Leverage an AI-driven sandbox to quarantine unknown attacks and stop patient zero malware.
- Inspect all traffic, all the time, whether a user is at home, at headquarters or on the go, to ensure everyone is consistently protected against encrypted threats.
- Terminate every connection to allow an inline proxy architecture to inspect all traffic, including encrypted traffic, in real-time — before it reaches its destination — to prevent ransomware, malware and more.
- Protect data using granular context-based policies, verifying access requests and rights based on context.
- Eliminate the attack surface by connecting users directly to the apps and resources they need, never to networks.
Zscaler said it blocked 24 billion threats in 2022 — a 20% increase from the 20.7 billion blocked in 2021, which was a 314% increase from 2020. This shows that cybercriminals are continuing to evolve their tactics to avoid detection and slip past information security teams.