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Phishing emails include malicious URLs and not file attachments

Most phishing emails (malspam) sent in the first half of the year contained links to malicious files, instead of attachments, according to statistics Proofpoint.

Specifically, 85% of all malspam shipped to 2's Q2019 (April, May, and June) contained a link to a malicious file download instead of a malicious file attached to the email.

phishing emails

Q2 continues the trend observed at Q1, where malicious addresses URL they also dominated as the favorite way of distributing malware via spam.

If the majority of malspam content shipped these days exploits malicious links, it means that hackers get higher clicks compared to the classical technique of attaching files to emails.

"While the reason for the continued dominance of URLs may be due to a number of factors, the most important is that users are more suspicious of attachments," Proofpoint said.

phishing emails

URLs, on the other hand, are more and more common on business emails as we receive email alerts and collaboration updates regularly as organizations move to in cloud.

Proofpoint's findings should impact the entire cybersecurity market. The companies that provide anti-phishing training must follow the hackers' tactics.

Employee education is important

A previous Proofpoint survey found that 99% of all phishing emails require human interaction, that is, opening files, clicking on links, or any other inattentive action. With a little training, employees can identify and avoid phishing attacks.


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