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Millennials underperform other age groups in phishing, ransomware awareness

According to the report, nearly 90 percent of global organizations surveyed were targeted with business email compromise (BEC) and spear-phishing attacks.


Millennials underperform other age groups in phishing, ransomware awareness
These trends clearly spotlight the vulnerabilities of modern cyber-infrastructures and also highlight the importance of cybersecurity as an integral element of an organization's digital transformation journey. 

More than half of global organizations dealt with at least one successful phishing attack in 2019, states a new report by leading cybersecurity and compliance firm Proofpoint. The report also highlighted that millennials continued to underperform other age groups in basic phishing and ransomware awareness in the previous year.

Proofpoint's sixth annual State of the Phish report surveyed over 600 security professionals from across seven countries including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and France.

According to the report, nearly 90 percent of global organizations surveyed were targeted with business email compromise (BEC) and spear-phishing attacks, while seventy-eight percent reported measurable reductions in phishing susceptibility, following security awareness training activities.

Effective security awareness training must focus on the issues and behaviors that matter most to an organization's mission. We recommend taking a people-centric approach to cybersecurity by blending organization-wide awareness training initiatives with targeted, threat-driven education. The goal is to empower users to recognize and report attacks.

Joe Ferrara, senior vice president and general manager of Security Awareness Training for Proofpoint.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Sixty-five percent of the surveyed information security professionals reported that their organization experienced a ransomware infection in 2019.
  • Organizational awareness improved following the implementation of a consequence model.
  • Forty-five percent admit to password reuse while 32 percent of working adults were unfamiliar with virtual private network (VPN) services, reflecting their failure to follow cybersecurity best practices.
  • The majority of working adults failed to identify cybersecurity terms such as phishing, smishing, and vishing, highlighting knowledge gaps and lack of user awareness.

These trends clearly spotlight the vulnerabilities of modern cyber-infrastructures and also highlight the importance of cybersecurity as an integral element of an organization's digital transformation journey.

Organizations need to understand the potential threats and utilize the latest defensive techniques to help address potential vulnerabilities and stand vigilant against future attacks. It's crucial for organizations to implement initial and periodic cybersecurity training for their employees to identify potential future threats and vulnerabilities.

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