TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- KnowBe4, a provider of security awareness training and a simulated phishing platform, today announced the results of its Q3 2023 top-clicked phishing report. The results include the top email subjects clicked on in phishing tests and reflect the use of HR business-related messages as well as popular seasonal messages that pique interest from employees and may affect their workday.
Phishing emails continue to be one of the most common methods to effectively perpetuate malicious attacks on organizations around the globe. In fact, KnowBe4’s 2023 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report revealed that nearly one in three users are likely to click on a suspicious link or comply with a fraudulent request.
Because of this, cybercriminals remain innovative and refine their strategies to stay up to date with current trends and use tactics in order to grab the attention of end users to ultimately outsmart them. This results in cybercriminals changing phishing email subjects to be more believable while preying on emotions by inflicting urgency, confusion and distress in order to get employees to click on a malicious phishing link or download an attachment.
This steady trend from the last two quarters of cybercriminals using email subjects coming from HR include messages related to dress code changes, training notifications, vacation updates and more. These are effective because they may cause a person to react before thinking logically about the legitimacy of the email and have the potential to impact an employee's personal life and professional workday.
Holiday and seasonal phishing email subjects were also utilized this quarter with four out of the five top holiday email subjects related to Halloween and fall items that are used as bait to incentivize unsuspecting end users. Additionally, the report reflects the consistent trend of utilizing IT and online service notifications as well as tax-related email subjects.
“The continued trend of disguising emails as coming from an internal department such as HR is especially dangerous to organizations because they appear to be coming from a trusted, reliable source,” Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “These malicious emails take advantage of employee trust and create vulnerabilities within an organization that could potentially result in its downfall. KnowBe4’s phishing test reports emphasize the importance of new-school security awareness training that educates end users on the latest and most common cyber attacks and threats. An educated workforce is essential to fostering a strong security culture and is an organization’s best defense to stay safe online.”
To download a copy of the Q3 2023 KnowBe4 Phishing Report infographic, visit here.