IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Phishing emails in Q421 focused on everyday tasks - research

By Shannon Williams
Wed 26 Jan 2022

Phishing emails in the last quarter of 2021 were primarily focused on users' everyday tasks, new research has found.

The information was revealed in KnowBe4's Q4 2021 top-clicked phishing report, which the company released this week.

KnowBe4 is a provider of a security and awareness training and simulated phishing platform.

“When comparing the results from the United States phishing emails to those in the rest of the world, email subjects in the United States appear to originate from the users’ organisations and are focused on security alerts related to passwords and internal company policy changes,” says Stu Sjouwerman, chief executive officer at KnowBe4. 

“However, in the rest of the world, the top subjects are related to users’ everyday tasks and the subject lines appear to be more personalised to entice the user to click," he says.

"As expected, we did see some phishing email subjects related to the holidays, especially holiday shopping in particular. Employees should remain ever vigilant when it comes to suspicious email messages in their inboxes because just one wrong click can wreak havoc for an organisation.”  

According to the report, the top 10 email categories globally are:

Business 
Online Services 
Human Resources 
IT 
Banking and Finance 
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Phishing 
Mail Notifications 
Holiday 
Phishing for Sensitive Information 
Social Networking 
Top phishing email subjects were also broken out, comparing those in the United States to those in the rest of the world. In the fourth quarter of 2021, KnowBe4 examined tens of thousands of email subject lines from simulated phishing tests. The organisation also reviewed ‘in-the-wild’ email subject lines that show actual emails users received and reported to their IT departments as suspicious. 
The results are below. 

Top phishing email subjects, according to the Q4 2021 top-clicked phishing report:

Rest of the Word:
Accept Invitation - Staff Meeting via Teams 
Employee Portal - Timecard Not Submitted  
Enclosed attachment for your review 
Immediate password verification required  
[[company_name]] Invoice 

The United States:
Password Check Required Immediately 
Important: Dress Code Changes 
Vacation Policy Update 
Important Social Media Policy Change  
Employee Discounts on Amazon for your Holiday Shopping 

Common “In-the-Wild” attacks, according to the report were:

IT: Cloud Enrolment 
Special Project Information  
You Have Some New Messages 
Teams Events 
Microsoft: Private Shared Document Received  

The KnowBe4 platform is used by more than 44,000 organisations around the globe. Founded by IT and data security specialist, Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 helps organisations address the human element of security by raising awareness about ransomware, CEO fraud, and other social engineering tactics through a new-school approach to awareness training on security. 

Kevin Mitnick, an internationally recognised cybersecurity specialist and KnowBe4's chief hacking officer, helped design the KnowBe4 training based on his well-documented social engineering tactics. Tens of thousands of organisations rely on KnowBe4 to mobilise their end users as their last line of defense. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Customer experience
The importance of service level management to customer experience
Staffing shortages have impacted site reliability engineers in particular since they are under extreme pressure to ensure that digital assets perform at optimum levels 24/7.
Story image
DevOps
Deloitte expands cloud observability practice with Dynatrace
Deloitte is expanding its cloud observability practice, including DevOps principles, AI/ML, cloud complexity management and software engineering.
Story image
Contact Centre
Leveraging technology in contact centres to reduce attrition rates
Many organisations worldwide have accelerated DX to better respond to changing market drivers and business environments after the disruption of the pandemic.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Symbio
Symbio consolidates TNZI business to support APAC expansion
Symbio has recently announced the consolidation of its international business (TNZI) under the Symbio brand to support its Asia Pacific expansion strategy.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
NVIDIA
NVIDIA announces a spate of new innovations at Computex 2022
NVIDIA has announced its latest innovations in data center, robotics, content creation, and gaming in a virtual keynote address on the opening day of Computex 2022 in Taipei.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
GapMaps
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Informatica
Informatica, Oracle enter strategic global cloud partnership
Oracle named Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and data governance for data warehouse and lakehouse solutions on OCI. 
Story image
DaaS
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
SpaceX
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
Transport
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
MEC
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
APAC
Top data and tech challenges for APAC banks - report
InterSystems’ new report finds that 87% of A/NZ banks experience frustrations and concerns in using their data to drive decision-making.
Story image
Infosys
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Phishing
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Digital wallets
Australians lead the way in digital payment use - report
Australian consumers are at the forefront of mobile wallet use and adoption of digital banking tools, abandoning cash and physical payment experiences.
Story image
Malware
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
SaaS
The paradox of change, and how to get around it
The business decision to technologically transform should not come from an IT department but from the business itself.
Story image
Customer experience
Phone, internet complaints increase for first time in five quarters
Phone and internet complaints have increased for the first time in five quarters, according to a new telco report from the Ombudsman.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Cybersecurity
4/10 Australian SMEs fallen victim to cyber-attacks since pandemic
Almost four out of teb SMEs in Australia have fallen victim to cyber-attacks since the pandemic began, according to a new study.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.