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81 percent of security pros say phishing is the top threat

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A recent study conducted among security professionals has revealed that the majority of organizations view phishing as the most significant threat expected to emerge in the next six months.

This week, Fortra, a global cybersecurity software and services provider, released the results of its first-ever cybersecurity survey, which gathered insights from over 400 professionals spanning 40 different industries worldwide.

When ranking immediate threats, respondents highlighted phishing (81%), closely followed by malware and ransomware (76%) as well as accidental data loss (63%) as critical areas of concern. Social engineering (55%) and third-party risks (52%) were also recognized as prominent risks.

Participants were also asked about their key strategies for addressing the aforementioned threats, with the following actions being identified:

Preventing or mitigating external threats like phishing and malware (74%), identifying and rectifying security vulnerabilities (73%), enhancing security culture (66%), focusing on cloud security (63%), and prioritizing compliance (62%).

Antonio Sanchez, Fortra’s Principal Cybersecurity Evangelist, reflected on the findings saying, “Although these issues may appear diverse, they can all be linked to the rapid shift towards cloud adoption.”

“The repercussions of this swift transition – weak policies, inadequate container security, misconfigurations, and significant security gaps – became evident in 2024 and will continue to unfold this year,” Sanchez added.

“Presently, the primary emphasis is on enhancing controls and procedures related to phishing and malware, followed by staying abreast of the latest attack vectors for bolstering defenses,” Sanchez further mentioned.

Impact of Shortage of Skills and Budgetary Constraints

The survey also delved into the factors impeding the implementation of additional security measures, with budget constraints (54%), the ever-evolving threat landscape (45%), and a dearth of security expertise (45%) ranking high on the list.

The study also disclosed that while many organizations aspire to adopt zero-trust principles, about a quarter admitted to being unable to enact these plans due to inadequate resources.

Addressing this concern, Josh Davies, Fortra’s Principal Technical Manager, remarked, “Burnout is a concerning trend leading skilled professionals to exit companies or transition into roles with narrower responsibilities.”

“This creates added pressure on the remaining staff members as they are still required to deliver the necessary results with a reduced workforce,” Davies added.

Image: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

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