Almost all cyber attacks 'rely on targeting people'

Almost all successful email-based cyber attacks rely on people opening malicious links or files, new research has discovered.

According to Proofpoint's Annual Human Factor Report that analysed more than 18 months' worth of information, 99 per cent of fruitful attacks required some level of human input to execute.

Only a tiny fraction used exploitative kits and software vulnerabilities to attack digital systems, it was found.

Hackers were increasingly tailoring attacks to make malicious emails look as though they came from trusted sources - even the targets' bosses - and Trojans were particularly popular methods of information stealing.

Education, finance, and advertising and marketing were among the industries with the highest levels of cyber attacks.

Kevin Epstein from Proofpoint said: "Cybercriminals are aggressively targeting people because sending fraudulent emails, stealing credentials and uploading malicious attachments is easier and far more profitable than creating an expensive, time-consuming exploit that has a high probability of failure."

According to the government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 32 per cent of businesses have identified cyber security breaches or attacks in the past 12 months.

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