Ransomware and phishing attacks successfully compromised more than half of U.S. organizations in 2019. 

According to a 2020 State of the Phish report by cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, researchers found that 90% of global organizations had been targeted by email scams and phishing attacks.

The report found that hackers have become increasingly sophisticated at leveraging social engineering attempts through business emails, phishing attacks and social media. For the healthcare sector, insider error was found to be the leading cause of data breaches.  

Despite the severity of phishing attacks, 60% of respondents in the report claimed to have experienced fewer or about the same number of attacks as the previous year. The researchers attributed the decline in overall attacks as hackers focusing on more select companies to compromise. 

According to the report, 55% of the organizations claimed to have experienced at least one successful phishing attack within the last year, with more than half claiming to have lost data, experienced account compromise or a ransomware attack.

Researchers explained the particularly malicious impact of ransomware on these organizations, 

The advantage of a successful ransomware infection—from the viewpoint of the attacker—is the sense of urgency it creates. Healthcare organizations and state and local government entities were hit particularly hard in 2019.

More than half of phishing victims reported downtime hours and damage to their reputation as a result of the compromise. 

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